The World of Designer Children
The biological goal of a human is to create successful offspring passing on the parental genes, allowing the race to survive. Most people do not think of wanting a child in these biological terms but think of it as a want to create a family. Pregnancy is quite an investment costing at a minimum of about $20,000 of doctor’s appointments, vitamins, clothes, and hospital bills (Herlihy 1). Just like any normal large investment of time and money people want to be assured the outcome will be positive. With pregnancy this assurance comes from prenatal testing and consultations from esteemed doctors. In recent years scientific advancements have allowed for parents to “choose” their children. From eye color to gender the possibilities are seemingly endless. With this genetic engineering of children there are people opposed to it and people in agreement with it.
A successful pregnancy ends with a healthy child. As most things in human life there are two sides to every battle, an environmental side and a genetic side. Taking prenatal vitamins and listening to doctors advice is only half the fight. The other half is the set of genes a baby is given. One chromosome not successfully splitting during meiosis can cause Down’s Syndrome and no vitamin can change this fact. Expecting couples are more aware than ever, through the fast paced media in our society, about what can go wrong with pregnancy. Prenatal testing allows doctors to screen for diseases and conditions. However, doctors can now genetically modify children before a fetus is conceived. With newer biological enhancements parents will be able to pick eye color, height, hair color, etc. These options are seemingly harmless because they are just phenotypic adjustments. The other side is are they harmful because they are lessening the probable genotypes their offspring could have, eventually lessening the gene pool available to human population.
By lessening the gene pool for all humans, the individual parents choices are reflected on the larger populations scale. Only affluent families are able to afford such genetic engineering so the gene pool will lessen with certain probability based off what genes are apparent within this affluent group. The distinction between upper and middle class will not only be economic but genetic, widening the gap between the two. The economically elite will become the genetically elite.
The child also has to be thought about as a side in this argument. With a child being predisposed it has no choice other than to be what was chosen by its parents before it had a voice for itself. There is also no guarantee the child will show these exact traits, “Because genetic modifications would occur at a very early point, plantation genetic modification could have a major impact on the developing human organism. Scientists believe that many human genes are pleiotropic, which means that they affect more than one trait. Altering a pleiotropic gene...