Is it Ethical for Christians to Use Genetic Screening?

Author Deliberates the Moral Dilemmas Surrounding IVF and PGD in New Memoir

January 23, 2012

Louisville, KY

In her new book, author Ellen Painter Dollar responds to the ethical dilemmas surrounding assisted reproduction with her personal story of being a mother living with a disability. In No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox Press), Dollar describes living with a disabling genetic bone disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta (OI)—commonly known as "brittle bone disease,"—which she passes down to her first child. As her toddler breaks numerous bones while learning to walk, Dollar considers whether to use assisted reproduction to conceive a second child. 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.

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, and the Hartford Courant. She currently blogs at Patheos.com. Visit her Web site at http://www.ellenpainterdollar.com/.