Web Exclusive

From The Archive

What’s in a Gene?


By Alexis Wolff “The geneticist is going to look at this and freak,” a woman who introduced herself as Veronica told me as we sat across from one another in her Manhattan office. On the coffee table between us sat my application, which I had been instructed to complete at a desk by the receptionist, even though I’d mailed in an identical one several weeks before. This new application sat opened to a grid where I’d filled in information such as the height, weight, hair color, and eye color of my sister, parents, and maternal grandparents. I left blank the boxes devoted to my paternal grandparents. I’d never met them. “Let’s try to fill some of this in,” Veronica said, “or else the geneticist is going to have some trouble doing her job.” “Well,” I apologized, “I’m not sure I know any more than what I put.” “We can just estimate.” I shrugged. “So your dad’s mom,” Veronica continued. “Would Read more …

Sounds Like a Plan

Sounds Like a Plan_WI07

By Rebecca O’Connell Dr. O, My OB-GYN, called to say that the plan was illegal in Pennsylvania, where I live, but it was legal elsewhere. Not only that, but it was the very best source of organs for sick babies, since the organs would be new and strong and free of disease. He was expecting a call back from a transplant specialist; the specialist would find out where we could implement the plan. I thanked him. It was his idea, but I was completely on board. I wasn’t so sure about my husband, but I figured I could convince him. I was carrying a twelve-week-old fetus with anencephaly: no skull. I’d seen the ultrasound the day before. It was very clear. There were its little legs, its arms, its bright-white spinal cord, and there was its brain: exposed, naked, all the whorls and swirls plainly visible. Well, I thought, we can make him a helmet. I’ll knit him a nice, Read more …