A deaf couple from Maryland, Candace McCullough and Sharon Duchesneau, made headlines in 2002 when they spoke with The Washington Post about their decision to seek out a deaf sperm donor. (The Washington Post March 31, 2002.) (See FastLinks.) The donor had generations of deafness in his family, and Ms. McCullough and Ms. Duchesneau wanted to ensure that their children, Jehanne and Gauvin, would also be deaf. It's not illegal in the United States to use assisted reproductive technology to try to conceive a deaf child, though the couple was turned down by several sperm banks before turning to a family friend.
“Some people look at it like, ‘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,” Ms. McCullough asked the Post in 2002. “They should have that option. They can feel related to that culture, bonded with that culture.”
Several years later, a British couple, Thomas Lichy and Paula Garfield, protested against laws that would prohibit selecting a disabled embryo when a normal one was available. The proposed amendment was specifically aimed at situations in which deaf parents tried to use assisted reproduction to produce or select deaf embryos. (The Telegraph April 13, 2008.) (See FastLinks.)