Designer Baby: Tomorrow’s Future
Imagine a world where diseases, such as cancer, are obsolete and choosing babies physical appearance is the new fad—imagine the designer baby. A “designer baby” is an informal name used to describe a baby whose genetic makeup is altered through pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) (see figure 1 for more information on the process). The term designer baby implies that a baby’s genetic makeup can be pieced together, as many do with clothes. Hence, a designer baby is essentially like designer clothes. Parents would have the power to cultivate the “perfect” baby. A baby who is disease free, physical designed to a parent’s likings. Thus, if parent wants their baby to have blonde hair, so be it! Or one prefers a baby with red hair and freckles go right ahead. We can all thank technology for such an opportunity… right? John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: “One has tremendous sympathy for couples who suffer infertility problems. But this seems to be a further illustration of the fact that the whole process of in vitro fertilization as a means of conceiving babies leads to babies being regarded as objects on a production line. It is a further and very worrying step down the wrong road for humanity” (Hanlon). Smeaton raises some interesting points; a baby should not be equated to designer clothes. Yet, whether we like it or not, the designer baby is in the works and happening. For example, Doctor Steinberg, director at The Fertility Institute, notes that PGD was initially designed to help those parents who cannot conceive. However, 70 percent of their clients can naturally conceive, but they want to choose the gender of their baby (Macleod). Adam Nash is the world’s first “designer baby,” genetically modified through the process of PDG. Adam was reportedly born to save his older sibling who suffered from a low blood count and was in need of a bone marrow transplant. The case of Adam Nash exemplifies how there are some benefits to PGD. Furthermore, abnormal genetic conditions and diseases would be significantly decreased in babies. However, with any good comes the bad. For instance, the case of Adam sparked debate concerning the ethical and moral issues of PDG. Moreover, Bioethicist Thomas H. Murray questions, “What use will they [parents and doctors] make of it, and should there be limits?”(Ghose). Murray highlights ethical and moral issues concerning the matter of designer babies. Furthermore, his point provides for a nice segue into the topic for my paper. Hence,I will explore the moral and ethical issues concerning the matter of designer babies.
Social Considerations: Building a Master Race
Freedom to choose physical traits, mental abilities, even physical abilities of an unborn child seems quite amazing at a surface level. However, what is at stake for humanity? For one, genetic modification can lead to the cultivation of a “master race,” where a...