Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Splice of Life

David and Neil entered the clinic, hand in hand. They were so excited they’d found a program that would allow them to have a child with both of their DNA, a privilege that was only available to heterosexual couples until a few months ago.

“Welcome to A Splice of Life,” the receptionist greeted.

“We’d like to have our DNA spliced together,” Neil said.

“Take these cups and put your name on them then go into one of the empty rooms and fill them with your ejaculate. When you’re done, put the lid on the cup and place it in the fridge,” the nurse explained. The two men went into separate rooms and filled the cups as directed.

They were taken into an office and given a long form to fill out with every kind of DNA that could be manipulated listed. They had to choose which ones they wanted from each person to be included in the splicing. When they finished, they handed the form to the nurse.

“You’ve read the literature and understand all the possible outcomes?” the nurse asked. Even though they’d only glanced through it, they nodded their heads. “Please sign here and here.”

“We’ll call you we’re ready to impregnate the surrogate,” the nurse said when they finished.

Three weeks later, they received the call. “We’re all set. Your DNA has been spliced together carefully following your list. We have fertilized the egg from the donor and will put it into the surrogate mother on her next ovulation.”

Over the next nine months, the two men decorated the nursery and received updates on their baby, including monthly ultrasound images and health reports.

A week after the baby was due they got the call. “Congratulations, your son has been born,” the nurse told them.

They rushed to the hospital and held each other close as they looked at their son. “He has your eyes and nose,” Neil said.

“And your cheeks and mouth,” David replied.

On the way home to finish preparations for their son’s arrival, they stopped at the clinic to pay the remainder of their bill. “Thank you so much,” they said to the billing clerk. “Samuel is perfect.”

Everything was wonderful for the first few months. Two days after Samuel had turned 13 weeks old; they were playing on the floor with their son when David noticed that Samuel was missing the little toe from his left foot.

“Well, that’s odd,” said Neil. They agreed that one missing toe wasn’t that big a deal and kept playing with Samuel.

Two days later, another toe was missing and Samuel’s nose was collapsing. David and Neil started to panic. Their baby was falling apart!

They called the clinic and demanded to talk to the doctor. When he got on the phone, they explained what was happening.

“You read the literature, correct?” the doctor asked.

“Yes, of course,” Neil lied.

“Then you’re aware that DNA splicing is not a perfect science yet,” the doctor explained. “There could be some side effects like those you’re seeing. It is possible there will be many more or this could be all there will be. Only time will tell.”

For the next week, they watched as more of his body parts fell off or collapsed. His mental abilities were going in reverse. Neil called the clinic again, demanding to talk to the doctor.

“It is getting worse,” Neil said. “Is there anything you can do?”

“You have two options. You can have your son placed into our rejection program where he will be studied and contribute to the future of spliced DNA research until he dies. Or you can keep him at home and watch him deteriorate until he dies,” the doctor explained.

“We’ll get back to you,” Neil said.

Later that afternoon, Neil and David solemnly drove to the clinic with their son and entered him into the rejection program. After they signed the transfer of guardianship to the clinic, the nurse said, “Ya win some and ya lose some. That’s the chance you take when you mess with nature.”

Copyright © April 21, 2011

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