A deaf couple who wanted to use IVF to ensure that they have a deaf baby are angry that the government is proposing to ban the knowing use of embryos with a genetic defect in IVF treatment. This isn't the first time that a deaf couple have deliberately tried to ensure that their child is also deaf. The reason why it is deaf couples trying to propagate their disability rather than couple's with another disability is because uniquely the deafness creates a linguistic minority and a subculture that goes with it.
The problem is that some deaf advocates take the view that because deafness is a cultural identifier it is therefore not really a disability. This leads to situations such as opposition to treating deaf children with cochlear implants because it shrinks the 'community' or doctors failing to offer easy genetic screening for deafness (ironic considering the first story I linked to) in foetuses because of pressure from deafness advocates.
I would guess that the initial reaction for most people to parents 'designing' their children for deafness is probably that it is abhorrent and close to child abuse, that was certainly my first reaction. Considering the matter in more depth certainly creates more sympathy towards the motivations of the parents but it doesn't change the conclusion. The absence of hearing impairs the quality of life of a child and increases the risks they face ( for example they can't hear fire alarms, oncoming traffic etc) and the benefits to the deaf community don't outweigh them.
Caption Contest (“Delighted” Edition)
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