This couple want a deaf child. Should we try to stop them?

According to one caller to Victoria Derbyshire’s phone in on BBC 5 Live this morning, deaf people become so frustrated with their deafness that they may try to commit suicide. He was argueing against the campaign of a deaf couple featured in The Observer this Sunday. Garfield and Lichy say the Embryology and Human Fertilisation Bill would prevent them from having a deaf baby by IVF. Their first child, conceived naturally, was born without hearing.

This couple want a deaf child. Should we try to stop them? | Science | The Observer
We celebrated when we found out about Mollys deafness, says Lichy. Being deaf is not about being disabled, or medically incomplete – its about being part of a linguistic minority. Were proud, not of the medical aspect of deafness, but of the language we use and the community we live in.

The problem with the callers’ argument is that if we stop the birth of babies with any kind of disability we devalue all people with disabilities. Their frustration of course is often caused by those who don’t or can’t be bothered to understand how to communicate with them.

In many ways the the problem afflicts everyone. How many times have you been frustrated because someone else didn’t take the time to understand what you were trying to say. Deaf people simply help us realise how poor we are at communicating. Perhaps it’s a British thing and explains why we shout in English at people who don’t speak our language thinking that somehow it’s their problem and volume will penetrate their stupidity. It’s not communication, it’s ignorant and patronising. Perhaps a little like the fine detail of the bill currently going through parliament.

2 thoughts on “This couple want a deaf child. Should we try to stop them?

  1. I agree with the above comment. The caller himself revealed part of the problem when he said that he had better things to do than learn sign language. His Deaf colleague could not learn to hear but the caller could have learnt how to communicate with him. I suspect that the frustration that he spoke about was in no small part due to him and others like him.

  2. I know this is immature, I saw the interview on BBC Breakfast but I couldn’t concentrate on the subject matter. When I found out the Dad’s name was Tomato Lichy I spent the next few minutes trying to think of people named after fruit or vegetables. Bethany claims she went to primary school with a boy named peanut.

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