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Deaf lesbians criticized for efforts to create deaf child

WASHINGTON (BP)–A leading pro-family organization is questioning attempts by a suburban Washington, D.C., lesbian couple to deliberately create a deaf child, CNSNews.com reported April 2.

Candy McCullough and Sharon Duchesneau of North Bethesda, Md., said they did everything possible to make sure their newborn son is deaf by specifically seeking and obtaining a sperm donor for artificial insemination who has a lengthy family history of deafness.

But one group has made it clear it disagrees with the women’s choice to produce children with disabilities, not to mention raising them in a homosexual household.

“This couple has effectively decided that their desire to have a deaf child is of more concern to them than is the burden they are placing on their son,” Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, said.

“To intentionally give a child a disability, in addition to all the disadvantages that come as a result of being raised in a homosexual household, is incredibly selfish,” Connor said.

McCullough and Duchesneau, who were featured in a cover story of the Washington Post Magazine March 31, already have a daughter who was designed to be deaf and they’re hoping their son, Gauvin, is deaf as well. Duchesneau is the mother of both children.

Because the child is a newborn infant, it will take several months until an audiologist can determine whether Gauvin can or cannot hear.

The women, however, insisted that it is not of utmost importance that Gauvin is deaf, but they would like their son to have the same disability as the rest of the family.

Duchesneau hopes the family’s deafness stays intact. “He’d be the only hearing member of the family. Other than the cats,” she told the Washington Post Magazine.

McCullough was more direct in her hopes that their son would be deaf. “I would say that we wanted to increase our chances of having a baby who is deaf,” she said in an interview with the Post.

But Connor said it was wrong to attempt to produce a deaf child and that serious challenges against the traditional definition of family were taking place.

“This reduces the father to a mere inseminator, raises the prospects of donor shopping and designer genes, and turns a baby into a trophy,” Connor said.

An official with the Family Research Council said the group’s opposition to deliberately creating deaf children would not change if the couple were heterosexual.

McCullough told the Post that families should have the right to seek sperm donors from anyone in order to be comfortable with the culture of the family.

“Some people look at it like, ‘Oh my gosh, you shouldn’t have a child who has a disability.’ But, you know, black people have harder lives. Why shouldn’t parents be able to go ahead and pick a black donor if that’s what they want,” McCullough asked rhetorically.

“They should have that option. They can feel related to that culture, bonded with that culture,” McCullough said.

But Connor disagreed when it comes to deliberately trying to create children with the burdens of physical disabilities.

“We’ve seen many parents try to ensure they create children possessing a certain trait; however, this couple has sought to create a child so that he does not possess a certain trait — in this case, the ability to hear,” Connor said.

“One can only hope that this practice of intentionally manufacturing disabled children in order to fit the lifestyles of the parents will not progress any further,” Connor said.

The women were quick to point out that they would not be disappointed if Gauvin could hear but were just as clear in telling the Post that they preferred him to be deaf.

“A hearing baby would be a blessing,” Duchesneau said. “A deaf baby would be a special blessing.”

Connor said he hopes the practice of designing babies is stopped. “The places this slippery slope could lead are frightening,” he said.
Pyeatt is a staff writer with www.CNSNews.com. Used by permission.

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  • Matt Pyeatt