With the completion of the human genome project, the genetic basis of disease is becoming better understood. Genetic tests for disabilities are increasingly becoming available to allow couples with a family history of genetic disease to select healthy offspring. But some couples wish to select for disability. Might there be good reasons for acceding to such requests?
A deaf lesbian couple in the United States have deliberately created a deaf child. Sharon Duchesneau and Candy McCullough used their own sperm donor, a deaf friend with five generations of deafness in his family. Like others in the deaf community, Duchesneau and McCullough don't see deafness as a disability. They see being deaf as defining their cultural identity and see signing as a sophisticated, unique form of communication.1–3 (See box boxB1B1 for references on commentaries relating to this case.)