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The Negative Effects Of Designer Babies

1524 words - 7 pages

Imagine a world where parents scan through pods filled with different possibilities for their embryos. They design their child in the image of a Disney princess. Hair as dark as night, lips as red as blood, and skin as fair as snow. This could soon become the reality as fertility technology becomes increasingly advanced. Parents can use pre-implementation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to manipulate the genetic makeup of their children. Currently, PGD is used to screen embryos for deficiencies in genes; it will be altered if any are found before being returned to the womb which is executed through test-tube fertilization. Theoretically, PGD could be used to engineer embryos, thus the term “designer babies” has been coined, which according to the Oxford English Dictionary is a “baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected by genetic engineering combined with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).” “Designer babies” are shrouded in controversy and are not the miracle some people claim them to be. Parents should not be able to use genetics to manipulate the physical appearance/abilities and social traits such as intelligence of their unborn children.
Currently, there are no laws in the United States regulating fertility clinics with non-medical genetic engineering of embryos, even though the fertility industry is worth approximately $3 billion. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) provides voluntary rules that, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer than 20% of our fertility clinics abide by. Seventy-seven percent of the world’s 30 industrialized countries have banned non-medical used of PGD on embryos, it is definitely time the U.S. jumps on the bandwagon.
Genetic diversity among the human race would be greatly diminished if we were to select genes and, quite literally, “design” babies. Variation in the gene pool of a species is diversity in the genes of the said species and is important for the said species as a whole to withstand various biological challenges. Naturally, a majority of parents would want their children to fit the ideal being that their society has put forth, i.e., a Barbie/Ken-like figure might be rampant in the United States, having a fast metabolism, slender figure, tall stature, and pleasing facial features. If a situation such as this were to occur, variety in the gene pool would be severely lessened, eliminating one of the key components of natural selection. Individuality is one of the key mechanisms of natural selection. Natural selection being erased, we would become extremely vulnerable to any out of the ordinary situations and we would essentially lose our ability to adapt to situations like global warming and air pollution. We could become extinct at the rate things are going. One of the frightening effects of this is that we would be more susceptible to diseases because we would be a clone-like society, with ever decreasing genetic variety. We would...

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