Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CNN interview of deaf couple who wants to try for deaf baby with IVF

Paula Garfield

The story of the British deaf couple, who wants another deaf child and may use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to make it happen, has been in the news for a few months, but CNN posted a video of an interview with them on May 19.

Paula Garfield, artistic director of Deafinitely Theatre, and Tomato Lichy, an artist who runs the Web site Stop Eugenics, have a daughter, Molly, who is deaf like them, and they want to make sure their next child shares that trait with them.

Their quest has caused a number of comments in British newspapers attacking them, like this column in The Times.

And their quest may be in conflict the current British government, which has the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill scheduled for a decision in the next few weeks. Under the proposed bill, using embryo screening to purposely create a baby with a serious medical condition - which British officials have said includes being deaf - would be illegal. A mini-documentary about the HFE bill was posted on YouTube May 13.

The controversy recalls one in the USA in 2002 when sperm banks rejected a deaf lesbian couple's desire to find a donor with congenital deafness. They eventually found a deaf donor through a family friend and succeeded in having a baby who is hearing impaired.