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Designer Babies: Disease Free Or New Child

1164 words - 5 pages

To choose for their children, the world’s wealthy class will soon have options such as tall, pretty, athletic, intelligent, blue eyes, and blonde hair. Occasionally referred to as similar to “the eugenics of Hitler’s Third Reich” (“Designer Babies” n.p.), the new genetics technology is causing differences in people’s opinions, despite altering DNA before implantation is “just around the corner.” (Thadani n.p.). A recent advance in genetically altering embryos coined “designer babies” produces controversy about the morality of this process.
After the discovery of genetically altering an embryo before implantation, “designer babies” was coined to describe a child genetically altered “to ensure specific intellectual and cosmetic characteristics.” (“Designer Babies” n.p.). This procedure combines genetic engineering and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to make sure certain characteristics are absent or present in an embryo (Thadani n.p.). The procedure also includes taking an embryo to be pre-implementation genetically diagnosed (PGD), another procedure that doctors use to screen the embryos (Stock n.p.). An embryo’s DNA goes through multiple tests to obtain an analysis of the embryo, which will list all the components of the embryo including genetic disorders and physical traits such as Down syndrome, blue eyes, and brown hair, for instance (Smith 7). Although the use of PGD is widely accepted by the “reproductive medical community” and the modifying of disorders or diseases is to a degree, once the characteristics are no longer health related “72% disapprove of the procedure” (“Designer Babies” n.p.). At this point the parents make decisions that would alter their child’s life forever and this decision is rather controversial in the United States; however, in China “that’s not the case,” says head of research at a Chinese company, Zhao Bowen (qtd. in Smith 7). China views the research as an advancement in genetics rather than focusing on the ethical implications of the new technology (Smith 7). In the genetics future, procedures like that of designing babies could offer intelligence, athleticism, hair color, and even the entire child’s physique as options.
Once just the dream of a science fiction author, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley introduces the idea of ousting natural reproduction by altering embryos to predestine characteristics such as intelligence, beauty, physical abilities, and more. Brave New World introduced the idea of altering embryos to produce a child that is programmed to do a certain task and could have no opinions or decisions of their own (Thadani n.p.). Finished in 2003, the mapping of DNA allows doctors to identify specific components in the DNA that match certain diseases, disorders, and characteristics, which could be used to change the child’s abilities to do certain tasks (“A Big Step Toward ‘Designer Babies’” n.p.). Moreover changing characteristics of DNA alters the entire DNA chain and modifications would change the...

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