I Don’t Want My Son to Inherit the Sins of His Mother

My worries for my child’s physical health shouldn’t surpass my concern for their his spiritual well-being.

The past few years have seen groundbreaking advances in biotechnology—particularly in the areas of human cell therapy and gene editing.

In March, experts gathered for the third global conference to discuss the ethical dilemmas involved in their work—less than five years after a Chinese geneticist announced he had performed “gene surgery” to prevent a set of twins from inheriting their father’s HIV disease. Currently, related research on screening embryos for polygenic disease, including type 1 diabetes, is hotly debated.

Some are concerned this capacity could someday lead to a kind of “techno-eugenics” and “designer babies,” where prospective parents could pick and choose their future child’s genetic traits—or simply edit out their child’s genetic disorders to set up for the best life possible.

As a mother with type 1 diabetes (T1D), I understand the underlying impulse to protect my child, even as I know he was created in God’s image. I live in a constant state of awareness and worry that my son might develop my own chronic illness.

Type 1 diabetes is a life-altering autoimmune disease with no cure. The most current research on its cause points to a strong genetic factor—complex and polygenic—which increases the risk of diabetes in children whose parents have T1D. In my own family, I was diagnosed 14 years after my sister, cementing the genetic link behind what felt like an otherwise random diagnosis. Today, if my son developed T1D, that link would be obvious: He inherited it from me.

Knowing my child’s inherited risk of T1D, I pray against it daily, asking the Lord to keep my toddler healthy. I’m eager to do anything that might …

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