The price of preemies

Science, technology, and life.
Jan. 6 2005 1:55 PM

The Price of Preemies

And other news from the techno-frontier.

You and I are cultural and political creatures living in an age of science and technology. From sexuality to liposuction to surveillance to cloning, we're being overrun by technologies full of implications about who we are and how we should live. The purpose of Human Nature is to expose and discuss those implications. In the weeks to come, what you'll find here is a steady diet of news updates and quick takes, coupled with longer columns exploring some topics more thoroughly.

Let's start with a few updates.

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

PREEMIES

Item: Most premature babies who survive to age six have disabilities.

Outlet: Associated Press, Jan. 6

Gist: Eighty percent of 6-year-old children who were born between the 22nd and 25th weeks of pregnancy (the current lower limit) have disabilities, and 46 percent have severe or moderate disabilities (cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, hearing loss, vision problems, etc.).

Implication drawn by the researchers: "Parents need to go into this situation with their eyes wide open and with an open dialogue with their doctors as to what they should do."

Translation: Pull the plug.

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Other implications: According to the AP, "The rate of premature births in the United States has crept up in recent years, in part because of a rise in multiple births and older mothers." So think twice about IVF, ladies.

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