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No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproductionby Ellen Painter Dollar
Synopses & Reviews
Increasingly sophisticated and available reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, raise moral, theological, and emotional concerns that are particularly significant for Christians. How do we respond to urgent questions of human worth and suffering? How do we define the "good life" in a consumer society that values appearance, success, health, and perfection? Many people facing decisions about whether to use reproductive technology have few resources to help them contemplate their choices. Pastors often know very little about these technologies or the moral questions they raise. Market-oriented fertility clinics are so focused on achieving pregnancies and "take-home babies" that they rarely offer patients time and resources for considering complex ethical and emotional questions.
No Easy Choice provides a Christian response to reproductive technologies. Dollar combines her story of living with a disabling genetic bone disorder and choosing to have biological children with extensive discussion of other resources. Questions at the end of each chapter will help readers delve more deeply into issues raised by reproductive technology and come to their own conclusions. The book is appropriate for prospective parents, pastors, medical personnel, genetic counselors, and students and teachers of Christian ethics.
"Part memoir, part theological treatise, this book offers a refreshingly candid and nuanced grappling with assisted reproduction that will be valuable to many Christians wishing to engage with the ethical questions raised by this new medical technology. Dollar, who suffers from a genetic disorder better known as 'brittle bone disease,' wanted to spare her offspring the suffering she endured by testing her fertilized eggs for the mutation before they were implanted in her uterus. (There was a 50% chance her child would inherit the mutation.) Opposed to abortion, she and her husband reasoned that embryos in a petri dish are not the same as a fetus growing inside a womb. Nevertheless, she wondered if such technological advances might not hasten a world of designer babies selected to minimize the chances of pain, sickness, and disability. With an estimated four million babies conceived through in-vitro fertilization and rapid advances in genetic testing, such questions have never been more urgent, yet they are often left to couples to sort through on their own. This well-written, insightful account should serve as a resource to anyone who ponders the intersection of medicine, ethics, and parenthood." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In No Easy Choice, Ellen Painter Dollar tells her gut-wrenching story of living with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI)—a disabling genetic bone disorder that was passed down to her first child—and deciding whether to conceive a second child who would not have OI using assisted reproduction. Her story brings to light the ethical dilemmas surrounding advanced reproductive technologies. What do procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) say about how we define human worth? If we avoid such procedures, are we permitting the suffering of our children? How do we identify a "good life" in a consumer society that values appearance, success, health, and perfection?
Dollar considers multiple sides of the debate, refusing to accept the matter as simply black and white. Her book will help parents who want to understand and make good decisions about assisted reproduction, as well as those who support and counsel them, including pastors and medical professionals.
About the Author
Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer and mother of three living in West Hartford, Connecticut. She has written about faith, motherhood, and disability for a variety of organizations, publications, and blogs, including Christianity Today, the American Medical Association, the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, the Hartford Courant, and the Episcopal Cafe. Her own blog, Choices That Matter, focuses on reproductive ethics.
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Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Infertility and Planning