Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X
DINIZ, Debora. Reproductive autonomy: a case study on deafness. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.19, n.1, pp.175-181. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2003000100019.
The ethical principle of reproductive autonomy is one of the cornerstones of bioethical theories. Prenatal diagnostic techniques and advances in genetics have broadened the spectrum of possibilities for reproductive choice. Consequently, they allow for selection in diagnosed cases of fetal malformation, for instance. This article analyzes the case of deafness, in particular the argument from the deaf community that supports the birth of deaf children as a way of maintaining its cultural identity. The article discusses the community's culturalist argument that deafness should not be considered a disability. Furthermore, the article considers the extent to which reproductive decisions by potential parents could limit the development of their future children.
Keywords : Deafness; Genetics; Bioethics.