What I’m Reading: Sperm Donors, Religion and 9/11, and the Images of Down Syndrome

Three articles I recommend for your reading this weekend:

First, a New York Times piece about the impact of artificial insemination as more and more children discover their “half-siblings.” When one man “fathers” 150 children, the chances of those siblings accidentally meeting and even, theoretically, having children of their own, increases. What ethical guidelines should inform these decisions. Read the article here: One Sperm Donor: 150 Offspring

Second, another Times article about the ceremony that has happened for the past ten years to remember the tragic events of 9/11. Should religion play a role? “Omitting Clergy at 9/11 Ceremony Prompts Protest

Finally, a beautiful essay by George Estreich on Bloom–Parenting Kids with Disabilities, “Why Pictures Matter.” George is the author of a new book that hit my bedside table last night, The Shape of the Eye: Down Syndrome, Family, and the Stories We Inherit, a memoir about his daughter with Down syndrome as well as his family history and, from what I can tell, much more beside. He is a beautiful and thoughtful writer. I commend to you his book and his post on Bloom, where he concludes:

It seemed and seems to me that people with Down syndrome are seen either as “good-natured,” in a childlike way, or are held up as examples of bad nature. Too often they are seen either as angels or defects; too often, they are seen as perpetual children. I think that we would be better served seeing them as present and future citizens; that our medical interventions would be best if we keep that vision of adulthood and citizenship in mind; and that narrative – a narrative which is clear-eyed about medical realities, yet without surrendering hope – provides one means to make that vision real to the doctors of today and tomorrow.

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