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Playing God Essay

1611 words - 7 pages

As a species we’ve always looked for ways to be faster, stronger, smarter, and live longer. Many enhancements we take for granted today; blood transfusions, vaccinations, and birth control, seemed unnatural or immoral when first introduced. Yet over time we’ve become accustomed to these controls over our minds and bodies, and have used them to better ourselves and our world. Imagine a society without disease, cancers, or heredity disorders. Life span would increase and IQ raised. Mental illness eliminated. Alzheimer’s gone. Hereditary problems, like baldness eradicated. Technology exists to diagnose flawed DNA in pre-implantation embryos, empowering humans to create a stronger, healthier ...view middle of the document...

This practice is more formally known as liberal eugenics. Already, a similar practice has been put into place to genetically engineer and modify certain plant species in order to increase insecticide resistance and provide better crop yields. By inserting desired genes into bacterial plasmids and allowing plant cells to take up the foreign DNA, numerous plant species now have the ability to survive harsh conditions such as heat and cold, resist pesticides more effectively, yield more plentiful amounts of edible foods, and pass on their desirable genes to viable offspring. Rice, corn, and tomatoes are good examples of plants that have been modified in this way (Byrne). In fact, the U.S. and Canada are the leading producers of these genetically modified foods (see chart below). Now, the question remains if it is ethically and socially acceptable to implement a similar kind of practice to modify human beings so that they will, in turn, possess the most desired traits and be able to pass them on from generation to generation.
You do not have to stop there. Advanced reproductive procedures unite the sperm and egg in a laboratory, in-vitro fertilization. Advanced reproductive techniques involve using InVitro Fertilisation or IVF to fertilise eggs with sperm in 'test-tubes' outside the mother's body in a laboratory. These techniques allow doctors and parents to reduce the chance that a child will be born with a genetic disorder. At the moment it is only legally possible to carry out two types of advanced reproductive technologies on humans. The first involves choosing the type of sperm that will fertilise an egg: this is used to determine the sex and the genes of the baby. The second technique screens embryos for a genetic disease: only selected embryos are implanted back into the mother's womb. This is called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Here's how it works: A couple undergoes in vitro fertilization to make an embryo in a dish. When the embryo has divided into eight cells, one is removed. The DNA in that cell is then analyzed for known disease-causing genetic mutations. Only embryos that are disease-free are implanted in the uterus. Disease-bearing genes can be screened for and only those without the disease can be implanted into the uterus. Thus, ensuring a healthy next generation. With the help of this new technology, parents can be assured their children won't have to struggle with the same illness they or their family members are going through. This can be helpful because: Concerned parents would be given a chance to choose a healthy embryo to be implanted into the mother's womb after consulting a professional's advice. Families with children that are affected with preventable disease often wished that they had consulted a doctor. Now, with the advancement of medical technology, mothers would be able to conceive healthy babies instead of babies that are prone to deadly disease. This would definitely help families in the long run as...

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