Prenatal Screening an Unacceptable Manner of Preventing Autism
If there is one question that can throw parents of autistic children into a rage, confusion or outright indignation, it is when asked if they would choose to have a child they know from early on will be born on the spectrum. I know I have seen the look in their eyes, the pain that coats over. Some might, some would never change their babies for another.
It may be tempting for many. You would not have to worry about an appropriate job, wonder about the best diet choices to prevent meltdowns, require sensitive Santas for Christmas Pictures, or need help understanding why your child on the autism spectrum can taste music. Yet, you would be killing. You would be taking away a life. How are you to know what that autistic child would have developed into? You may have a savant who discovers cures for all forms of diseases, one who creates the most astonishing technology. It is impossible to know what your future holds for both parent and child.
At the moment, there is no way to clearly identify if a child will be born with autism. There is, however, a new development in embryo selection, an attempt to reduce autistic children born into the world. I'm not quite sure what is worse: playing God or blindly selecting who to kill.
The Reproductive Technology Council has, in my opinion, irresponsibly approved IVF clinics to screen embryos in an effort to reduce the chances of a couple bearing an autistic child into the world. Furthermore, expectant mothers will be selectively implanted so that they will have children of the female sex, as science has discovered that males are four times more likely to be diagnosed on the spectrum. According to the West Australian Health and Medicine magazine, only families at high-risk of having autistic children will be allowed to make this choice.
In essence, if you come from a family that has a history of autism, you rather absurdly have the choice of aborting a male fetus or being impregnated by a female embryo only. It is disturbing to say the least.
As you can imagine, the response to this announcement was a furious one. It has also left many parents confused. I, myself, fall into the former category. How many females are not born into this world because parents feel that they should bear sons? How many children are denied life because of parental carelessness and irresponsibility? I would have no way of knowing if my child would be diagnosed with autism, where on the spectrum he might be or if I would have snuffed out the life of the next big genius after Einstein (who also reportedly was autistic). I cannot imagine living with myself if I knew I might have killed a perfectly healthy baby boy while trying to prevent a child from coming into this world predisposed to autistic symptoms.
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