ridicuLIST: Deaf People Can't Have Children

Posted by: Staff Writer on Dec. 11, 2013

It just takes a sperm and an egg to make a kid, right? Basic biology. Yet some people have actually believed the myth that deaf people can’t have kids. What the heck? There’s several angles to this myth.

Some think babies of deaf parents are automatically taken away by Child Protective Services. Some think deafness is a disability that affects reproductive organs. Some believe deafies simply do not have “parenting skills.”

In part, these mindsets may come from the Nazis’ disturbing “racial hygiene.” Some deaf Jews literally couldn’t have kids, because some as young as nine or old as 50 were forcibly sterilized. It may also be from Alexander Graham Bell's thoughts that Deaf people should not marry each other nor produce offspring.

In 1933, Hitler’s “Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” made this horrific practice – and forced abortions - acceptable.  It was based on the ignorant, cruel notion that deafness was hereditary (in most cases, it’s not).  

What’s more, St. Augustine thought parents who have deaf children are being punished by “God’s anger.”  That’s why the deaf son of King Croesus of Lydia was not recognized as his father’s heir. Technically, any child(ren) of his wouldn’t be a heir either.

Today, over 38 million deaf and hard of hearing individuals live in America. Their family trees are unique, but no less fertile: There are CODA (Children of Deaf Adults), SODA (Sibling of Deaf Adult), OHCODA (Only Hearing Child of Deaf Adults), OCODA (Only Child of Deaf Adult(s)), GODA (Grandchild of Deaf Adult(s)), and GGODA (Great Grandchild of Deaf Adult(s)).

More importantly, deaf people DO bear highly successful children. Lou Fant, Edward Miner Galluadet (founder), Miami Dolphins’ Charlie Babb, and many other famed people are CODAs.

Deafies, have you ever found yourself the subject of scrutiny regarding your beautiful children – or those you hope to have someday?

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