Now I’m not really one for serious, sensible discussions on the subjects I’m about to blog on, but I couldn’t let this pass. It’s all about babies. The last week has seen three astonishing baby stories, any one of which could dominate any dinner party chat for hours and hours.
1. Baby chosen without breast cancer gene – this concerned a couple whose embryo was screened to make sure it did not have a genetic fault which had caused breast cancer in eleven female members of the mother’s family. The various articles did not say if the doctors had found an embryo with the gene and it was ‘discarded’, but that was the implication. It added to the debate about the selection of a baby exactly to your specification and has been the main discussion point since genetic modification and human cloning became a possibility.
My view ? I’m undecided. I think the world would be a better place if these terrible ailments, mainly cancer, could be eradicated by embryo gene screening but where do you draw the line? Do you eventually get to the stage where every embryo is screened so that no child born will ever develop a genetic ailment? And if you go there, what’s to stop the next generation being chosen to be beautiful, blonde haired, blue eyed human beings? We’ve been there before!
2. Birth two days after death – this is a heartbreaking story where a Jayne Soliman had been declared brain-dead but doctors kept her heart beating long enough for her daughter Aya Jayne to be delivered by caesarean section. The 41-year-old, who was 25 weeks pregnant, collapsed in her bedroom at her Bracknell home, Berkshire, after complaining of a headache. She was airlifted to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, but died at 8pm on January 7, just hours after having arrived. Her daughter was delivered two days later weighing just 2lb 1oz.
She should be called ‘Miracle’ or ‘Angel’.
3. Co-joined (Dicephalus) twins – this is where an egg, separating into two, to form twins, develops an abnormality and results in a single human body with two heads. Now, much as you might think this is unheard of, Dicephalus twins are quite common as far as their percentage of Siamese twins are concerned. The English couple, against every medical opinion going, including their own medical team, are determined to carry the pregnancy through to birth, saying that they have ‘been blessed’ and that it’s a miracle. Am I being overly cynical in thinking that the miracle will be when the Sun newspaper offer them a fortune for pictures and a story?