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The Pros And Cons Of Gene Alteration

2314 words - 9 pages

The Pros and Cons of Gene Alteration

Abstract

A new epidemic in human reproduction is slowly sweeping the earth, and it is known as human gene alteration. It gives parents the ability to decide their babies' sex, hair color, or even eye color. Creating these so called "designer babies" seems like the perfect way to have the child you have always dreamed of. But is this a moral way to go about reproduction? Is it fair to these children to mess with their genes just for your own satisfaction of having the perfect baby? Gene alteration can also be used in other more beneficial ways. One being to prevent and weed out disease that effects an unborn child. Gene alteration can be very beneficial, but only if used in the right way such as preventing and controlling disease.

Myths of Reproduction

For centuries, people have been trying to choose their babies sex through home remedies. Some of these home remedies include: diet, temperature, and the phases of the moon. For diet, researchers believe if the mother eats veggies, sweets and an excess amount of calcium she will have a girl. It is also believed that if men avoid hot tubs and wear loose clothes they will have boys. The phases of the moon are also thought to be a factor. If a baby is conceived during a full moon, it is most likely going to be a girl. If a baby is conceived on a quarter moon, it will probably be a boy (Kantrowitz, 2001, p. 51). There are thousands of these home remedies that people actually swear by.

The truth about these home remedies, is that they probably don't work. If they did then every one would have their desired baby. With the advancement in today's technology, however people will no longer have to engage in these silly myths.

Definition

Gene alteration is a term doctors use meaning the alteration of genes for a variety of different reasons. This method enables the parents of a fetus to pretty much control everything that goes on in a baby's development in the womb. Gene alteration can be done for both therapeutic reasons or for cosmetic reasons (Sofer, 1991).

Therapeutic Gene Manipulation

Therapeutic genetic manipulation is preformed by doctors to prevent diseases that the baby is carrying. The baby is tested by screening the embryo for any possible unknown diseases. Sometimes the PGD or preimplantation genetic diagnosis technique is used for this ("Biotechnology special focus"). The main diseases PGD is used to test for in babies are Hunntington's disease, Tay-sacks, Alzheimers, Familia cancers, Sickle Cell disease, Hemophilia, Neurofibromatosis, Fanconi's Anemia, Cystic fibrosis and most recently, Down's Syndrome ("Hooray for designer babies", 2002). This technique involves removing the unfertilized egg from the female, mating it with a sperm and then testing it for diseases. If all the diseases are absent, the fertilized egg is planted into the mother's uterus to develop into a baby. Some other unpredictable diseases may also be carried in...

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