Each day, I face the short person’s struggle of trying to reach high shelves. I am also that person who gets tired running up just a few flights of stairs. Luckily, I am also able to eat abnormally large meals in one sitting due to my fast metabolism.
With all of these strange physical traits, sometimes I even forget that I have a lifelong visual impairment, which qualifies as legal blindness.
Despite the inconveniences of my own physical differences, I know I would not be the same person if I did not have these different traits.
Some may think any physical differences could hold a person back in life.
Today, some may even wish to change or avoid these physical traits entirely. In the future, the process of altering someone’s DNA — which we once heard about in science fiction novels and films — could actually be available to some groups of people.
Using medical technology, which could be used to save lives, in order to create a child with preferable traits is wrong.
I also do not condone this technology when it is used to decrease chances of genetic predispositions, which may be considered inconvenient to a parent.
The importance of being human is learning how to adapt and live. Before we spend time and money overhauling our own DNA, we need to re-investigate why our society views physical differences, or traits, as “problems” which need to be cured, treated or avoided entirely.
We must also explore why it may be necessary to alter a person’s DNA, and possibly a person’s entire life, before he or she is even born.
Dictionary.com defined genetic engineering as, “The development and application of scientific methods, procedures, and technologies that permit direct manipulation of genetic material in order to alter the hereditary traits of a cell, organism, or population.”
As this research is growing, the idea of creating a designer baby has become a possibility.
I believe there is a difference between genetic engineering when it relates to picking practical traits and genetic engineering when it relates to life quality or life expectancy.
When the possibility of a genetic, but potentially fatal illness is present, it is the parent’s decision of whether or not to use genetic treatment methods. The prevention of truly life-threatening genetic predispositions is clearly for medical reasoning and is acceptable. Using this technology to create a “designer baby,” is not.
It is easy to understand that most parents would like to start their child off on the right path. Personally, my quality of life has never been decreased by my physical challenges.
I have been motivated by my own challenges and embraced my own differences, as well as the differences of others.
In fact, I like to believe that my differences have made my quality of life even better.
I am not the only disabled person who is proud to advocate for his or her disability. I, like many disabled people, don’t look at how we can avoid disabilities.
My focus is that every single person on this earth is differently-abled, especially those who legally qualify as disabled. We should embrace these differences as human beings.
The idea of creating designer babies through medicine encourages us to believe in perfection. We should encourage people to feel proud of, embrace and advocate their own differences; genetic or otherwise.
Pam Bump can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org