Friday, May 8, 2009

The medical side of matchmaking

I'm not loving the idea of shiduchs, (and I'm not even sure that I like the idea, even a little, even for someone else) however I am nowhere near Orthodox, therefore shiduchs are of of little consequence to me. But thinking about the people who do engage in matchmaking, I researched and came across something very interesting today. Did you know that some organizations screen people of marriagable age, give them pin numbers, and after they are introduced, the candidates enter the pins and find out if their kids would be born with critical disabilities? Maybe kind of clinical, but apparently this type of setup has resulted in a sharp decrease in the number of children born with Tay-Sachs and other genetic disorders.

I feel the same way about this as I do about my mom injecting herself with lizard spit to stay healthy: even though it may sound strange and engineered, if it results in fewer people with illness, so be it. The danger with this point of view is... where does it end? How much engineering is too much engineering? Are we avoiding creating babies born with disease, only to keep already living people around for much longer than natural science would dictate? What does that mean for the physical world and the world population? And what if by doing this, we lose a future chance to make a connection between different genes that could help reduce or cure diseases?

I think it's kind of creepy. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Totally for aggressive Tay-Sachs screening, but agree the line gets fuzzier later. I haz no answer in general, though for myself I would err on the side of extreme caution where I could. I'm not one of those perkily optimistic types - I'd abort and suffer whatever emotional consequence tp myself over taking the chance of bringing a seriously disabled kid into the world to suffer. But that's just me.

Re the matchmaking... I read once that the odds of your parents choosing a good partner for you weren't actually much worse than when you chose fo yourself. I believe it. :)


The Clever Cat said...

I would abort too, no doubt about that. But I had no idea about the match being nearly as good if your parents chose! Interesting. But! at least the (maybe not-so-good) decision would be your own... you know, free will and all... :^)

Paula Light said...

Yeah, there is something about being free to screw up your own life that is so much more appealing -- and I'm not being sarcastic! Most of us seem to want that. Gawd, sorry about all those typos when I comment from my phone.