How would you like to order your baby, just like order take away? I’d like a girl, with green eyes and hold the anchovies!
I know my thought on designer babies, how about you?
Personally I do not agree with it, I think nature should be left to do what nature does best. I am also open minded to hear and learn the fore side to this extremely controversial argument, as I am sure that there probably are in many ways positive aspects. But will it be exploited? and how far will it be taken?
This week, a report on the first company offering fertility clinics a test for screening IVF embryos for disease risk and low intelligence (see “Exclusive: A new test can predict IVF embryos’ risk of having a low IQ”). Seriously?! Risk of disease- fine, I get it, I understand if people want to know the risks of this but low intelligence? I am a mother of 3 and the intelligence of any of my babies was not something I worried about. Interact with and teach your children. Kids are learning constantly, teach your children to love learning/discovering new things and that will come naturally and their intelligence will grow. Leave them in front of a screen watching the same old thing and not talking to them, will affect their learning/intelligence. I am not against tv, you can learn a lot from it but in moderation. If you disagree, please share.
It may also become possible to screen for embryos that are more or less likely to have a range of other features, be it sexuality, autism or susceptibility to depression. When genetically modifying your babies will become widely available, you could choose from a menu of unique traits, for example: green eyes, hold the diseases, Italian person’s gene for lean muscle, fixed lactose intolerance so the designed individual can eat dairy, and a certain blood type.
The first baby created using a particular three-parent technique was born two years ago to Jordanian parents helped by US scientists working in Mexico. It might take two, five, or ten years, but GM babies are coming.
Concerns have been raised that this practice gives people more of a chance to opt for abortions on the basis of gender, although it is not yet known to what extent the test is being used in this way, if at all.
There is much for this debate to consider. Is it ethical to screen for disease risk, but not for predicted personality? What about mental health problems or a predisposition to autism? Should prospective parents be allowed to decide for themselves, or should societies as a whole determine what is most ethical?
It is a difficult conversation to have, but whether we like it or not, these technologies aren’t far from being a reality.