Child in the Womb: Product or Gift?
When God created Adam and Eve, there was one way to procreate, not reproduce (no explanation needed). Since their fall with sin entering all creation, there are more than 28 ways to reproduce a child to meet the needs of a husband and wife, a co-habiting male and female, or same-sex partners (called ‘collaborating partners’).
The advance of reproductive technologies brought with it ways to determine not only the sex of the child, but also ways to determine if a prenatal child was carrying certain dominant genes (for example, Huntington’s Disease), recessive genes (for example, Cystic Fibrosis) or Trisomy 21 genetic disorder (Down’s Syndrome). This genetic determinism is called in utero Prenatal Genetic Testing. This is withdrawing and genetically examining a few millimeters of fluid from the amniotic sac which bears the child.
A recent article in the September 2011 issue of Discover has published the latest advance in this test [this article is not yet available online]. Within the next 5-7 years, this test will be available and affordable for parents or ‘collaborating partners’ of various varieties to determine if the child in the woman’s womb is carrying a gene or genes resulting in a genetic disorder which will open the door wider for increase in selective elective abortions-on-demand.
Of course, this may lead to other new-eugenic scenarios: determining whether parents or ‘collaborating partners’ want to keep a child with low IQ, or dwarfism, or wrong sex, or any number of any softer characteristics such as eye color, hair color or athletic ability.
Some in the scientific community continue to give their approval for couples in search of the perfect child, while others say: “Not so fast until we know what the long term ethical and psychoemotional effects will be on those who utilize this technology.” Within this context, the pursuit of happiness and self-fulfillment trumps human life as a gift from God, the Creator.
This prenatal genetic testing is part of the new eugenics that continues to sow and reap its seed by eliminating the weakest in the womb and those created in ‘petri-dishes’ via in vitro fertilization because they have certain characteristics and attributes that are unacceptable to parents in search of their perfect/healthy child. The child in the womb is no longer viewed as gift from God but a commodity, a product that can be disposed of when the child isn’t genetically [genotypically] and phenotypically in line with their expectations.
This isn’t science fiction, but science fact that opens itself for a theological refresher course in biblical anthropology. Ultimately, working on the question, “What does it mean to be human according to the Scriptures?”
“What say you?”
David Oberdieck September 7, 2011
Wow – that is something to think about. Thanks for the article.
Allison September 13, 2011
I do not agree with all the digging going on. There are just some things not meant to be revealed. What ever happened to the element of surprise? When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt quite disturbed when the doctor insisted that I take a test to find out if the baby would have a disease. I figured it wasn’t going to change the way that I felt about the baby. I wouldn’t love the baby any less and that was most all that was important to me. We really need to focus more on what’s really important so that we don’t go overboard trying to control EVERYthing. After all, isn’t that sort of like playing God? Those are just my thoughts on the whole thing.
Tanya Laabs Johnson September 18, 2011
My husband has PKU. It was a difficult childhood to grow up on a very strict low-protein diet, made worse by really terrible smelling/tasting modified protein replacement drinks that he had to drink. It hasn’t been much easier for him as an adult, but he is generally healthy. He is intelligent, talented, and a wonderful husband.
In May 2006, as we were discussing the possibility of having children, I went to have a blood draw. We did genetic testing to find out if I was a carrier for PKU. If so, we thought that we would seek to grow our family through adoption.
Instead, three weeks before I got the genetic test results, I got another result: I was pregnant. At that point, it didn’t matter what the genetic test results were because we were having a baby, no matter what.
We sought genetic testing because we felt it would be selfish to have a child when we knew it would be likely to live with PKU, just as my husband does. We would have been very happy with adoption (my sister-in-law was adopted) or would’ve made peace with being childless.
Now that I am teaching again, I have met children with autism, CF, CP, ADHD — the list goes on and on. Each one is uniquely wonderful. Each one was part of the purpose and plan that God has for our world, right here and right now.
My college roommate is pregnant with her first child. They found out that their little girl has triploidy and is given no chance to live beyond birth. In fact, she wasn’t expected to make it past 20 weeks in her pregnancy. She is at 36 weeks now. They are enjoying each and every moment of pregnancy while they still have time with that precious baby.
And, by the way, my genetic tests came back negative for PKU carrier. And if it’d been the other way around, and our daughter had PKU, we would still praise God for her.