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No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability,…

No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of…

by Ellen Painter Dollar

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Dollar shares her personal story of life with an autosomal dominant genetic disorder--Osteogenesis Imperfecta--which her children have a fifty percent chance of inheriting. After her oldest child was born with the condition, Dollar and her husband investigated and underwent pre-implanatation genetic diagnosis (PGD) along with standard in vitro fertilization (IVF) so that a second child would not have it. Though family, friends, and their pastor were sympathetic and supportive, Dollar and her husband found themselves considering many ethical issues for which there were no clear answers within their own protestant religious tradition.

Her perspective, that of a faithful mainline protestant, looks briefly at Catholic teaching, pro-life considerations, and Judaism to help inform a thoughtful understanding of the questions raised by the advances in modern reproductive technology. Most chapters tell a part of her story, and share stories of others' experiences, then offer some theological and ethical perspectives and conclude with some questions for the reader to consider.

Dollar's story is compellingly written, truly illuminating her experiences as beautifully as any novel. She brings together real stories and presents thoughtful philosophical and theological perspectives to inform and engage her readers. She critiques the media's coverage of reproductive technology and the "industry" itself, which is unregulated in the USA. She illuminates troubling issues beyond those she and her husband faced, including "fertility tourism". She provides a road map both for others to deliberately think about the desire for parenthood, the place of human suffering, how Christian faith can inform the issues raised and leaves many questions open for contemplation.

As a college student I took a course in human genetics for non-science majors and several courses in ethics, this book would have been ideal for an undergraduate syllabus. Pastors, therapists, and genetic counselors would all benefit from reading this book and thinking through the questions Dollar poses. Ideally, those struggling with infertility or considering technology to avoid genetic disorders in their children would read this book early in the process to help them decide how far they would go to achieve their goals. Dollar does not seek to pronounce hard and fast answers for every situation. She urges compassion, wisdom, and diligence to all sorting through these issues. ( )
  byroade | Mar 11, 2012 |
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