Monday 24 July 2017

Mother reveals why she refused to alter her twins' genes to prevent them being born deaf

Interpreter Amanda Coogan (L) and Sarah-Jane Moloney O'Regan. Image: RTE/The Late Late Show
Interpreter Amanda Coogan (L) and Sarah-Jane Moloney O'Regan. Image: RTE/The Late Late Show
Sarah-Jane with her husband Conan and their children Conor and Louisa. Image: RTE/The Late Late Show
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

An Irish mother has opened up about choosing to keep the deaf gene she carried while trying to become pregnant through IVF.

Speaking on The Late Late Show, sign language presenter Sarah-Jane Moloney O'Regan told how she and her husband Conan struggled to conceive after they got married and as a result chose to try IVF.

During the interview, which was conducted through sign language with Amanda Cooagan interpreting, Sarah-Jane explained that the couple tried IVF three times before she became pregnant with twins Conor and Louisa on the fourth try.

Sarah-Jane added that the couple was offered a "genetic route to get rid of the deaf gene," but they chose to deny the option and allow nature take its course.

Sarah-Jane with her husband Conan and their children Conor and Louisa. Image: RTE/The Late Late Show
Sarah-Jane with her husband Conan and their children Conor and Louisa. Image: RTE/The Late Late Show

"They offered us a genetic route to get rid of the deaf gene, but we thought, 'absolutely not,' because that's like taking a part of us out of our children.

"I'm from a deaf family, my deaf friends, I was brought up in the deaf community. I wanted to follow the route that my parents took, which was to let nature take its course, but it also reflected hugely on who we are as parents."

While the babies were not born deaf, Sarah-Jane added that if they were, she and her husband would have "accepted that as wonderful."

"As a parent, you want your children to be absolutely perfect in every sense of the way. Of course, if they were deaf we would have accepted that as wonderful. They would have been born into the right family, as deaf parents we could have gave them the confidence, the culture and the language of the deaf community and language is the number one basis for children and deaf children.

"They would have had sign language and we would have worked on spoken English, so whatever way, our children were going to come into a world that was perfect for them."

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