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Singularity University

Designer Babies – Like It Or Not, Here They Come

Long before Watson and Crick famously uncovered the structure of DNA in 1953, people envisioned with both horror and hope a day when babies could be custom designed — free of inherited disease, yet equipped with superior genes for good looks, intelligence, athleticism, and more.  Now the beginnings of the day of designer babies have finally come.

designer babies baby

Designer Babies - here they come!

The Fertility Institutes recently stunned the fertility community by being the first company to boldly offer couples the opportunity to screen their embryos not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color, hair color, and complexion.  The Fertility Institutes proudly claims this is just the tip of the iceberg, and plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available.  Even as couples from across the globe are flocking in droves to pay the company their life’s savings for a custom baby, opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries.  Like it or not, the era of designer babies is officially here and there is no going back.

For decades now a technology called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, has enabled In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) clinics to screen embryos for more than 100 potentially debilitating and often deadly diseases before the embryo is implanted into the mother.  A medical revolution has thus unfolded, enabling literally tens of thousands of couples and their babies to sidestep some of the world’s most terrifying diseases.

Take the case of Cindy and John Whitley.  Their first child died at the age of 9 months from a deadly genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy.  Genetic analysis uncovered that the Whitley’s statistically had a 1 in 4 chance of creating a child with spinal muscular atrophy each time they conceived.  Unwilling to risk having another child with the deadly disorder, the Whitley’s used PGD to conceive three children, all healthy.

Yet PGD allows scientists to screen embryos for much more than just genetic diseases, and therein lies the promise – and the peril – of designer babies.

Gender was the first major genetic trait beyond genetic disease to be widely manipulated through PGD.  The Fertility Institutes is a leader in the field, claiming nearly 100% success in providing couples with a baby of a predetermined gender.  Completely healthy and fertile couples from all over the world are coming to The Fertility Institutes everyday to confront the risk, the expense, and the discomfort of  conceiving their baby in a test tube, all for the ability to choose the sex of their baby.

Gender selection is a big business.  Dr. Steinberg, Director at The Fertility Institutes, claims that they are performing on the order of 10 gender selection fertilizations every week, each for a fee of $18,400.  Although In Vitro Fertilizations were originally designed to help parents that were unable to conceive children naturally, Steinberg says that a staggering 70% of their clients have absolutely no difficulty conceiving children, coming to the Institute purely for opportunity to choose the sex of their baby.

Now, in the latest twist in the march towards designer babies, The Fertility Institutes says they will soon be able to offer couples the ability to screen their embryos for eye color, hair color, and complexion.  The Institute cannot change the DNA of the donating couple — if neither the mother nor the father has genes for green eyes, for example, then the Institute cannot give them a baby with green eyes.  Yet within the constraints inherent in the DNA of the donating couple, The Fertility Institute is willing to screen embryos for these traits.  The Fertility Institute wants to offer several other customizations, and many more are sure to be released in the coming years as the science behind screening for them is developed.

In many countries around the world PGD is heavily regulated and designer babies are strictly out of the question.  Yet in a strange paradox, even as the United States is one of the world’s most regulated nations in several areas of medical research and development, PGD is completely legal and unregulated in the United States.  Hence, even as the United States is hindered by regulation in areas such as stem cell research, the country seems poised to be a world leader in the designer baby revolution.

At the moment, The Fertility Institutes carries the mantle as the company at the forefront of this revolution, and as such they are a lightning rod for the praise and adoration, but also the bitter and severe anger, of those on both sides of this great moral debate.

The genie is officially out of the bottle, in fact it probably has been for a long time.  There is no stopping the designer baby revolution.  Even as some countries try to clamp down on it, others will allow it.  Progress, if we call it that, will continue unabated.  A similar phenomenon has unfolded with embryonic stem cell research  in recent years.  Even as the Bush administration almost completely strangled US investment and research in this promising field, other countries invested heavily and advances continued.

A new generation of genetically enhanced designer babies is inevitable in the coming decades.  Yet for those of us that are merely “normal”, do not despair.  Even as we are outmatched by the next generation genetically, a host of new technologies from chip implants to gene therapy may allow us to keep up, allowing us to enhance ourselves in equally transformative ways.  The future will indeed be interesting.

Want to know more? Below are some excellent videos and articles that served as much of the source for this story:

60 Minutes Story Focused on The Fertility Institutes:

60_minutes_designer_babies

The Wall Street Journal: A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles — Hold the Colic

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149 comments

  • Andy Fitzsimon says:

    This is fantastic,
    I want my future children to stay far away from skincancer prone skin.
    Where can I reverse the truck of money?

  • TomC says:

    I have a question for Derek:

    While I don’t fully agree with your abomination reference, you raise a perfectly respectable point regarding an embryo, that it’s a fully complete human from a DNA standpoint. However, so is a skin cell, billions of which slough off of us every day. Let’s take the point one step further – given the trajectory of genetic science, with new breakthroughs such as being able to reverse adult differentiated cells back into stem cells, it is entirely possible that some time soon scientists will be able to turn almost any living cell from a human into an embryo. In that event, does destruction of any cell in the body become an abomination?

    Like it or not, new technology changes our perspective on the world and the dogmatic “letter” of our morality. It always has. We need to concede this while not surrendering to amorality.

  • Lukasz says:

    Such “custom-designed” persons should be banned from sport, they’re still human beings but not created entirely by nature.

  • Christian says:

    Lukasz, well actually they are natural. It’s only the selection of one of many possible children you might have. In the movie Gattaca with dealt the issue had a good quote. “Your child is still you, just the best part of you”

  • jaduncan says:

    Lukasz: You are one of the first proponents of the new racism.

  • duff says:

    Racist? That’s a bit of an extreme reaction – which race did Lukasz express any hate? Oversensitive and prejudiced, yes; racist no. I don’t see how you can apply the word ‘racism’ to an issue of genetic prejudice, especially when you don’t know the particular ‘race’ of the being involved.

  • Derek says:

    The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

    This service is only geared towards people with high income – and better genes will have better chances of success, both in surviving, and in the business world.

    This science is an abomination of human dignity. An embryo is a fertilized egg, i.e. it is a fully-complete human from a DNA standpoint, all the pieces are there.

    The decision to “screen” embryos is the decision to allow one human life to continue, while the rest are destroyed. That is, some human life is more valuable than others.

  • rob says:

    To Derek:

    Have you noticed that the world is massively overpopulated? Far better for potential parents to screen for characteristics they want and have one or two children with those characteristics than the “keep trying until we get a girl/boy” crap from the irresponsible idiots with 3, 4 or more children.

  • Luis says:

    I have had this debate for many years with friends and family. The crux of the argument always comes down to the following:
    Does the good outweigh the bad?
    And to be honest that is the question whenever any new technology comes about. Many people will have a first thought of “superior” beings and “creating a master race” due to the various political and ideological bents out there. If, it becomes possible to eliminate the predication for disease etc. then I can understand it. However, it is rather conceited that someone would pay large sums of money.. simply to make sure their child “looks normal” or “looks perfect”. That is a slippery slope that has a very dangerous end.

  • Mike says:

    Isn’t there a possibility of inadvertently bypassing natural selection and thus creating a whole race of humans who are predisposed to some virus or something that will wipe them all out?

    Sort of like we’ve bred hip displacea into Labrador Retrievers?

  • bachroxx says:

    @Mike – exactly. Aesthetically pleasing is not a survival trait. Our best efforts at this in dogs have lead to fractious, psychotic, deaf, and lame offspring (look at Dalmations). Don’t even get me started on the “more likely to have double recessive genes”. See how well that works for the Amish or Ashkenazi jews (I was going to make the obligatory hillbilly reference, but I just couldn’t bear to do it!). Mother nature knows something that we don’t. Give me the mutt any day. Then again, maybe I stacked the deck by marrying a smart, talented, athletic woman?
    /B

  • TStockmann says:

    The basic point of this piece is repeated several times. This is not about desirability – it’s is about inevitability once the technology becomes available, just as pre-natal tests made gender-based abortion decisions inevitable in certain social conditions given abortion as an option.

  • Mike says:

    @bachroxx – thanks for making my point more intelligently. In questions such as these, its easy to slip into a “Brave New World” type of fear and moral outrage. Thus, we forget that there are actual, logical reasons why this is a bad idea – not just that it “seems creepy”.

    You’re right- we’ve managed to f*$% up the animal kingdom quite adeptly with our genetic meddling. Well, on to our own species! I suppose it was just a matter of time…

    (By the way, I live in South Carolina…no need to tell me about the inbred redneck hillbilly example!)

  • B Nuckols says:

    You must have missed the memo: Some in the Obama administration are complaining that there’s not *enough* regulation of stem cell and reproductive technology:
    http://www.lifeethics.org/www.lifeethics.org/2009/02/us-behind-on-regulation-of-reproductive.html

    Rob, have you heard that several of the European nations are paying women to have children, since the current reproduction rate is less than replacement rate?

  • Karen says:

    I seem to remember this horrific idea from years ago that had unbelievable consequences for people deemed ‘less than’ based on arbitrary traits. For years it was discussed as an abomination yet here we are a few years later looking into something that could potentially lead us down the same path.
    It’s eugenics, just in nicer packaging.

  • Craig says:

    My two cents: if you don’t trust nature’s cruel fate and your own genes, don’t have kids. How about we approach life, children, and consequences bravely, instead of as cheap made-to-order accessories?

    Like some posters above me implied, welcome to devolution.

    • Rational Mystic says:

      So you think that it’s appropriate to tell people who possess the recessive genes for crippling disorders “Oh you want to have kids without the risk of afflicting Huntington’s disorder on them. Tough luck”. It’s easy to defend the natural order when you are on top and not on the bottom. Don’t try to paint your narcissism as bravery.

  • Gort says:

    It’s obvious from some of the comments that a few of you missed the part where it states they aren’t manipulating the genome, only scanning it.

    I think this is the best, safest way to eliminate genetic disease. If we can scan for eye color and sex along with other genetic diseases like Huntington’s Chorea, what’s the big deal?

  • lackofgravitas says:

    I must say, I’m a bit surprised at the reactions here, the ones that point the finger at eugenics and quote Gattaca with a negative slant.

    De-selecting a gene for Duschene’s Muscular Dystrophy, Down’s Syndrome, CF or any number of genetic diseases is an obligation to humanity. By de-selecting them we reduce the risk of these diseases in much the same way that vaccinating against smallpox eradicated the disease.

    As for bypassing ‘Mother Nature’ and creating a race susceptible to a virus which could/would kill us all, that’s a different issue, it’s cloning. Not a danger using this example, the differences are too great.

    And as for the comparison with pedigree dogs, look at the european royal families, that’s about as redneck as it gets for inbreeding. Yet haemophilia was bred out of Queen Victoria’s line by choice. Just an example.

    Now to the meat of the objections; Eugenics.
    The word is hated, and rightly so, as used by Hitler, but not by its definition “Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution”. we’ve been doing it for millenia.

    The reason we hate the word and the idea is their context. We think of Nazis, ethnic cleansing, racism, sexism.. insert any bad idea here…

    Eugenics, from a political point-of-view, was Hitler’s stepping stone to creating the master race (and here comes the important bit) for his Reich. A dominant race to rule over others.

    Now, imagine if so-called eugenics (remember;self-determination of human evolution) were to eradicate, possibly in one generation, all the understood genetic diseases now known to man. Maybe not cancer, possibly Altzheimers, certainly Down’s, and all other sex-linked conditions. Would you still say no?

    Then there is the larger potential benefit.
    If (and I know this is a big if…) genetic screening/change became an everyday event, maybe we would create a master race, but not a political or national one. Maybe a global race of disease resistant humans. How does that sound now?

    Then there’s the moral/ethical dilemma; should we tinker with what god has given us as our lot?

    Well, that really depends on your beliefs doesn’t it?

    If you belive in a god, then you’re probably against any tinkering. But, as I’m trained as a scientist, and don’t take supernatural forces to be a fact, I’d advocate trying to improve our species. Let’s try with an IQ boost just for a start. See how many people with a higher IQ actually think there is a god of any kind.

    and finally, let’s have a look at cultural biases, like the prevalence in some societies to prefer male children. China? Islamic countires? Again, this is a cultural meme that is prevalent. If all these people cjose only male children, their cultures would disappear within 2 generations. And, to be honest, I’d rather there were a too few women in any society than mass graves of female abortions or female only orphanages.

    So, let’s have another little think shall we? Maybe not do the knee-jerk thing and actually think.

    • Jasa Murah says:

      definitely agree man, the world of perfection where no body has a genetic mutation diseases. But in the other hand, i feel someone will use this for something bad, something unfair. i know it just my assumption, but i believe there will be conspiracy to build something, what is it exactly, i don’t know, but i believe it will be exist or it is already exist…

  • gennytte says:

    I wonder what the deaf community thinks about the potential for embryos with genetic characteristics that cause deafness to be systematically discarded.

  • Truth says:

    This won’t be possible. Yes, people will be able to prevent diseases and cancer on a genetical level, but designer babies (custom eye color, gender, skin color, etc…) ARE and WILL BE FORBIDDEN. Read this – http://portal.unesco.org/shs/en/ev.php-URL_ID=1881&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html,

    Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights:
    Article 2
    (a) Everyone has a right to respect for their dignity and for their rights regardless of their genetic characteristics.
    (b) That dignity makes it imperative not to reduce individuals to their genetic characteristics and to respect their uniqueness and diversity.

    As you see this is FORBIDDEN by the law WORLDWIDE.

  • khannea suntzu says:

    @Lukasz – “banned from”…. setting a dangerous precedent there. What would be
    worse – reassessing what we understand to be sport, and letting everyone do what
    he or she wants in total freedom…? Or start treating a minority in a very
    different, and very dubious manner. Not a nice statement you made there.

    @Derek – correct – just societies should work to reduce disparities in affluence;
    by making all the poor richer but ALSO by capping certain undesirably extreme
    high levels of income. Everyone should have the right to gove their offspring
    the best chances in life.

    @Karen – who in their right mind makes a comparison between healing people
    and killing people. YOU JUST DID!!! – these treatments are about looking at
    procreative cells, on a voluntary basis, removing features smaller than moles
    you have lasered away on a routine basis, and saving future babies from suffering
    afflictions that cost societies hundreds of billions per year. You actually have
    the nerve to suggest society take steps that will cause millions of human beings
    be born with horrible ailments. You protest when we can lift disease and increase
    wellbeing, productivity and happyness. Who is the evil one here?

    @Gort – we will scan tomorrow, we will adjust next week, we will engineer
    next month and we will synthesize next year. Who is going to stop us? What
    judge will persecute a couple who return home after a vacation to an undisclosed
    tropical location with a healthy baby?

    @gennytte – What do YOU think of a deaf couple who want their children to be
    deaf “to enrich deaf culture”. Insane? >> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1916462.stm

    @Truth – are you sure it is impossible? Or are you stomping you feet in fierce
    denial?

    You mention dignity – so what if genetic modification is used to make
    sure a child does not have a undignifying disease? You might say – the child
    didn’t exist before it was subjected to the indignity of modification. Likewise,
    I suffer from a disease, most likely one with a genetic component and this
    disease causes me unspeakable pain on an almost weekly basis. Look it up -
    “clusters headaches”. Do you have the moral authority to have denied me to have
    been born without this scourge? Then go and look in the eyes of a born cripple
    and say to him – this is what g-d (fate, nature etc) intended.

    …Furthermore if GM on human subjects is outlawed, what exactly would impair
    the emergence of (
    yet another) highly profitable black market? And if a black
    market emerges, how happy should be be – career criminals making profits and
    dictating ethics in the use of GM on designer babies. If there ever was an
    atrocity waiting to happen, that would be it.

    BUT even worse – say, if we did have GM capability on human offspring (an ability
    which we have today, since we already produce loads of mammals with mods, and
    have done so for years) and everyone said, fine we dont use it – but one day
    China does use it, and starts producing ten million designer babies a year –
    and lo and behold, ten years later a generation of super-healthy, low medical
    cost producing, high emotional stability, physically appealing, olympic record
    shattering and all IQ clear over 120 children grow up. You suggest the US would
    stick to its guns and not adopt the same technologies, tripping over its
    shoelaces to do so?

  • Jeremy says:

    “The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
    This service is only geared towards people with high income – and better genes will have better chances of success, both in surviving, and in the business world.”

    It is the Wealthy that SHOULD be producing more offspring as they show a genically superior ability to compete in the modern world.
    You may say this creates an unfair advantage – but when was evolution ever fair?
    Some mutations allow one genetic group within a species to survive whilst the rest die out when faced with a disease.
    And in the past, it may not have been the best or the brightest genetic group that survived.
    But in the interest of humanity and the continual evolution of our species, we should ensure it is the best and the brightest that take our future forward.
    Money can finally provide a way to facilitate genetic competitiveness within the species where it has not been possible in the past.
    Some bum in a trailer park can have 10 kids because they have nothing better to do whilst Mr Genius sitting on the board of Company X has none because he has no time.
    At least by choosing the best of his offspring he can somehow try to balance out the negative contribution to the genetic pool from the trailer park.
    I have to say there is a high probability modern society will breed OUT intelligence, due to the fact that the best of us have the least offspring.
    If what we compete for (money) can now also contribute to our genetic competitiveness, then this is to the advantage of human evolution.

  • Jeremy says:

    And further to the above, since when has “Geek” ever had sex appeal? Modern society SHOULD want its Geeks to be sexy. That will be good for evolution.
    Take a Geek here, and a Geek there and then create a super sexy Geek! Kindof hard to fit that one into social norms…
    I for one would rather talk about science with a super hot chick than the latest fashion trends.
    It would certainly be much better for society if sex appeal was more correlated with intelligence than with stupidity.
    Unfortunately society’s idea of genetic competitiveness still has the mentality of millions of years of evolution – that is, that physical appearance is all that counts when selecting a genetic partner. Just look at peacocks!
    But modern humans should certainly be aware by now that is it intelligence, rather than physical appearance that leads to development in society.
    Though we may know this intellectually, it seems or genes do not know it yet. When did a picture of Albert Einstein ever turn a girl on? So how do we fool these genes into thinking that intelligence has sex appeal? Well simply, we can’t. But what we can do is make sure intelligence and sexy go hand in hand through genetic screening.

  • Bottom Line says:

    The bottom line is this: people will do anything, including pre-selecting the best genes available for their offspring, to get them the best possible survival skills in life.

    If one country tries to ban this, there will be ten other countries that will not ban it, and people will go to those countries to have their babies.

    You can’t stop this technology from happening.

  • Dennis says:

    What the hell does natural mean anyhow…people spew this word out as if they knew what it meant…Last I checked we are all nature incarnate. By most narrow minded definitions natural would mean placing us back to a cave like luddite existance.

  • Dennis says:

    I have an IQ of 138, believe in God and think that God allowed us to evolve a mind which has the power to tinker. Not all Theists are moronic luddites.

  • Dennis says:

    Agree with the Dennis above. i’ll take this version of “Intelligent design” over a random role of the dice. Whats wrong with that ?

  • carla says:

    It’s frightening. They want to choose the color of their baby like they would chose the color of a fashion accessory !

  • charles zeller says:

    The so-called opponents would not have had a voice in this if their parents had had the opportunity to select for intelligence.

  • Truth says:

    I wanted to say that it will be POSSIBLE, but choosing based on sex, race or visual features is FORBIDDEN BY LAW. Read it in the treaty I mentioned earlier. Besides I am also for less children, but of higher quality. We do not want overpopulation as peoples lives will expand drastically in the future. We want to have less children, but older people in general. Older equals more knowledge, more skills, better for whole society. If there are more kids, you have to spend more money on educational system and to be honest they are almost useless until around 18 years, they are living off parents and government.

  • carla says:

    Yes, eugenics = dictatorship

  • Truth says:

    I also want to note that people who believe in intelligent design and god are deluded and if they still believe it after educating themselves on the matter, they are fools.

  • Truth to Carla says:

    It doesn’t have to be eugenics. Eugenics is basically discrimination of genes. Hitler supported eugenics, so there are only blue eyed aryans, but if we allow all people to become blue eyed aryans or make them blue eyed aryans from birth but DO NOT eradicate other eye colored people, it is not EUGENICS.

  • carla says:

    no, it’s just superficial.

  • carla says:

    (and nowadays, there are colored contact lens)

  • Sally Morem says:

    I say, if you take the rejuvination treatment, you have to leave the planet. Space development will solve all population pressures.

    As far as designer babies are concerned, making sure their genomes are clear of all genetic disorders is terrific. It’ll save so many so much pain and suffering during their lives.

    And if genetic engineering is used to modify melanin levels in the skin, so much the better. Less skin cancer for darker babies of European descent. Fewer cases of rickets for lighter babies of African descent. Not to mention creating a fully permeable color line. Racism? Where is thy sting?

  • RAVEN says:

    MY COMMENT TO ONE OF YOU SAYING, THAT THE RICH, GETTING RICHER AND THE POOR GETTING POORER. WAKE UP PEOPLE , THE RICH WORK. AND THE POOR DON’T WORK. THEY JUST WANTED A HAND OUT. THAT’S WHY THE RICH GET RICHER. BECAUSE NOT MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY THEY HAVE. THE STILL HAVE TIME TO WORK. AND THE POOR SEEMS TO BE NOT WELLING TO WORK. BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY JUST APPLY FOR FOOD STAMPS. FOR MY OPENION, A PERSON THAT KNOWS HOW TO SMOKE, DRINK, AND HAVE SEX AND BABYS’ THEREFORE THEY CAN GO TO WORK AS WELL. WHY WE, SOME RICH PEOPLE WORK AND PAY HIGHER TAXES , SO THE GOVERNMENT GIVE TI TO , SOME POOR PEOPLE , THAT DON’T KNOW HOW TO GO OUT AND WORK. LIKE MOST OF US. SAD FOR THIS COUNTRY. TO MANY LAZY PEOPLE. GOOD DAY TO ALL

  • SpottedMarley says:

    Now kids can actually blame everything on their parents. Even how ugly they are.

  • True intelligence is not absen says:

    Let’s be clear, the issue isn’t illness it’s the ability to select traits that are purely superficial. There is no intellectual advantage to having blonde hair. And even if there was, so what! having an high IQ doesn’t make you a better person or even more successful in life, it just makes you a person with a high IQ. We tread dangerously close to Hitler’s ideals when we speak of a “master” race and “inferior” genetics! But that’s not even the point; the problem with humans is that when we get together and try to create the best we don’t expect the unforeseen worst. We never account for potential. The idea that you can be born in the worst conditions and of “inferior” genetic attributes and still be one the most fascinating and intelligent people while contributing hugely to the world is still an idea that’s surprisingly absent for the majority’s thinking! Life isn’t an exact science! People change and grow. Some of the richest most educated people have been some of the most crooked,hateful, destructive, and perverted people that have ever existed. Speaking as person born of a culture and race of people who much of the world and western society considered was “inferior” and better off non-existent, I thank God we had people that accepted the beauty of who they were and changed the world (and history in the process) by not accepting the ideals of society but instead forced the world to change how they viewed race and value in human beings. See that’s just the thing….people never expect the low to rise to the top…and the trailer park residents to own fortune 500 companies but they do… people beat the odds and rise above pre-determined expectations all the time…..and that’s why we can’t be trusted to “play god”.

  • Truth says:

    Last comment sucks. You know – we aren’t close to hitlers ideas. You know why? Because basically every treaty on earth there is is AGAINST it. All the principles of human rights are basically based on forbiddance of discrimination and genocide and so on…Nobody says that there will be a master race. Yes, some people will be “better”, but that doesn’t mean the others will be discriminated.

    To SpottedMarley – I am not quite sure about the ugly part. I am not sure the scientists can precisely predict what bone structure will look like, at least, not yet. The height is still an issue here. I mean – there is still discrimination due to height although all of us say there isn’t one. So should people allow parents to choose the cell with more height potential?

    • Trey says:

      dude your a self righteous ass. it just comes down to personal beliefs. if you as a parent think that your baby will have a better life if you get to pick the traits then it is the parents choice. as for the elimination of genetic diseases, having the chance to stop your child from having down syndrome, or any other disease, and not doing it is condemning your child to a harder life or even death. Take the case of Cindy and John Whitley. Their first child died at the age of 9 months from a deadly genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy. Genetic analysis uncovered that the Whitley’s statistically had a 1 in 4 chance of creating a child with spinal muscular atrophy each time they conceived. Unwilling to risk having another child with the deadly disorder, the Whitley’s used PGD to conceive three children, all healthy.

  • Max says:

    I think this is excellent technology for being able to keep an eye on diseases but where do you draw the line? There isn’t a way to keep tabs on this kind of technology and there will always be someone out there willing to place ethics on the shelf to push the technology. I saw this vid about the situation here, http://www.newsy.com/videos/babies_made_to_order/

  • MissWL says:

    Hmm..I didn’t realize we had a room of Neo-Luddites here. This technology is not eugenics, because it is not mandated by the state or any other organized group, it is entirely by free choice. People all have different tastes, so who is to say that all the children will turn out blonde and blue? Some people like red hair, some people like green eyes, some like curly black hair, it’s all random. Furthermore, the slippery slope argument is entirely old and cliche. Slippery slope into what? The parents are choosing genes from within their own pool; it’s their genes, therefore it’s their reproductive rights. Unless we want a state where the government owns people’s DNA? Lastly, hair and eye color don’t disadvantage or advantage a child. In today’s society, they are neutral traits, especially because Western governments have enforced a multicultural ideal, so therefore it shouldn’t matter what color hair a child has. So there shouldn’t be regulation on pre-screening hair or eye color, if it doesn’t matter. Regulating it would mean that the government believes certain colors, like blonde hair, grants an advantage, which is admitting, implicitly, blonde superiority. So, I don’t see the case for regulation unless you think certain hair colors are superior. I don’t, so why regulate?

  • MissWL says:

    Hmm…also, carla, you sound like an extremist to me. What is so fearful? The idea that people might choose to select for a few recessive genes in terms of hair and eye color? Wow, the world is ending. Also, if diseases can be pre-screened, think of how much health care costs this could save the state. How much time and money it could save parents. Perhaps it’s why even though states like Japan and China have banned gender selection, they certainly don’t ban pre-screening for diseases. Why is gender selection banned? Because it takes two to continue reproduction, so it’s necessary for them, to ensure the country doesn’t go extinct. But, does hair color affect ability to reproduce? No, so it hasn’t been regulated, and shouldn’t be either.

  • MissCM says:

    There is a big difference, between screening for diseases, (both life threatening and medically expensive life long conditions) and superficial crap such as eye, hair and skin colour. The impact of children born with life threatening disease or long term medical conditions can have a devastating impact not only on families but also on society as a whole. The cost of supporting such children is astronomically high and their quality of life is sadly quite poor. I don’t think there is a parent out there who knowing that they were predisposed to having a child with such conditions, would knowingly choose to create such a child, I am positive they would choose to create a healthy child, and they should have that opportunity.

    But to knowingly choose traits based on looks is sadly shallow and not a concept that I think we should encourage, what message does it send to our children. We are saying your looks are chosen because they are better than other peoples looks. Please, there is enough of that superficial crap in the media without families portraying the same concepts through their children, let us let nature take control of our looks, not be so superficial and be proud of the people we are and the differences we have.

    • Nyala Lam says:

      “…and superficial crap such as eye, hair and skin colour.”

      Excuse me? Call me a colour-conscious, right-wing nut, but I love my long, straight hair and my light skin. Don’t tell me it’s superficial. What we look like as humans has always been and will always be very important to us.

  • MissWL says:

    Has it ever occurred to you, MissCM, or should I say, carla, that people who choose from their own genes aren’t implying certain looks are better but rather are attracted to the rare. Think about it. What is so special about blond hair? It doesn’t have any physical or intelligence advantages. The only reason people care is because it’s rare, simply and only because it’s recessive. Thus, when parents choose to give a chance to recessive genes, they are actually increasing world diversity. So, if people did choose for a few more recessive genes, this would at most increase world light-colored hair population by 2-3%. Whereas 95% of the rest of the world is still black haired, dark eyed. Now is that such a big deal? Really, people, this is totally different from the Nazis, who killed parents who didn’t have blonde hair blue eyes. In this case, two brown-haired parents can select for a blonde child. Thus, such technology actually destroys the Nazi ideal that recessive genes are limited to people with certain features, or that it defines a race. With this technology, we are acknowledging the fact that each human possesses a diverse array of genes to be selected for, and thus there is no point in death or war as we are all interconnected and share genes. If anything, people who fear this technology also believe, implicitly, that looks actually matter, because they fear breeding inequality or too many children who look similar. If looks don’t matter, then it shouldn’t matter if they’re selected for, right? Great job dismantling your own argument. And “MissCM,” such technology can actually override superficial fixation on hair or eye color, because it is no longer rare, it is easily selected for, and thus holds no exclusive value. If you complain about this technology, then I believe you will keep seeing the rare ideals (blonde, blue eyes) be perpetuated in the media, as they are hard to attain. Only this technology will allow us to transcend a fixation on hair/eye/skin color; you can tell people to “love who you are” a billion times, but it will never work until people truly are able to look however they want, and at that point, looks won’t matter.

    • Nyala Lam says:

      “Really, people, this is totally different from the Nazis, who killed parents who didn’t have blonde hair blue eyes.”

      What quack history books have you been reading? I had to laugh out loud at this post. I never thought that knowledge of the Nazis and World War 2 would mutate to such preposterous extremes in popular culture.

  • Madison says:

    i dont think this right because God created us and wants us to be who we are. We aren’t supposed to be designed by scintist. I mean it still is our gentics but this has gone to far. i mean there are bible verses that prove it.

  • Crazy Amy says:

    This is a very interesting topic. It really makes my think.

  • Statement says:

    There are reports buzzing around right now that in the US, India, China, and others that choosing gender has been going on for years.

    As for the poor, they will have as many kids as they can, and possibly demand free fertility treatments- it is a statistical fact that African women have 5.2+ children per woman vs. US women who have 2.5+ children per woman. It is how the poor can rise up against intelligentsia – by numbers. In 1995, I met a woman on welfare in the USA who personally told me she gets pregnant to collect more welfare checks.

    Look at the octomom in California….I bet she would have genetically engineered her kids to look like Angelina Jolie if she could.

  • saz says:

    i have read a few comment on this page and there are some strong words being thrown about, it is a personal choice to have baby any type of baby no body has the right to judge anybody else god made us yes but he gave us our brains i have been looking in to this as i have 3 boys 1 whom is servily disabled i love my boys but i only ever wanted 2 kids i had the 3rd in hope it would be a girl i feel i will not be complete with out a daughter in my life, should i just keep trying is that fair on my other kids to just have more then i can cope with or even pay for is that what the goverment is there for i think not or stop at 4 with a little help yes maybe i am selfish in wanting this but i can`t help how i feel i am greatfull for the babys i would nerver be without them but again this doesnot change my feelings

  • Where is the reasoning says:

    Obama just passed a law for stem cell research to be conducted, the specific creation of embryos for research purposes and then disposal. Women are allowed to abort a fetus, NOT an embryo, even a 6-month old fetus in certain cases, as long as they’re of age and don’t even have to give a reason.
    Yet everyone is jumping up and down about PGD selection of a certain combination of the parents’ natural genes, BEFORE implantation even occurs? In this case, the parents are the ones who are going to have to take care of the child financially, emotionally, and physically. Is it anybody else’s right to say that they can or cannot select for a disease-free child? Or even a gender, or hair, or eye color? None of these traits harm a child. Do you ever hear people say, I’m dumber than everyone else because I was born with green eyes sob sob…no. Cosmetic features won’t hurt the child at all. If the parents want to select for it, let them. People only get to live once. What if their family had some blonde genes, but no blonde children had been produced in the line for years? Would it be wrong to want to diversify, and have a blonde kid to raise? It’s the same as Madonna purposefully picking a kid from a certain African nation, or Angelina Jolie choosing Maddox from Southeast Asia. Why didn’t she pick Africa for a boy? Why didn’t she pick South America for a girl, huh? Nobody questions that, but it’s the same exact thing. People might want to diversify their family line, and PGD selection allows that to happen. It’s not any more shallow than wanting to marry someone with a certain hair color, because, you know what? At the end of the day, who that child turns out to be depends more on the emotional environment he/she grows up in, and not hair, eye color, gender. So, we should let such selection occur, as it doesn’t affect anybody, not even the children’s abilities. Lastly, what about sex selection with Microsort? That doesn’t even test embryos, it just separates the sperm into X and Y-chromosomes, so the female can inseminate herself, thus not even producing any extra embryos in the process? What’s so wrong with that? It can allow people to have both boys and girls in their families.

    • Dante says:

      Genetic engineering is still young, and comments about “its hitlers dream” blah blah blah those are comments religion bound critics are making, because they are scared of “playing god”. Genetic engineering will save many lives in the future, in fact, it has already been used to save several individuals. Wouldn’t god want for poeple to be saved?

    • YouPathetic says:

      It is defenitely NOT Hilter’s dream. Have you even heard the facts of the holocaust that Hitler started? He punished for races… and he would probably be against designing your own baby. He just wanted a super race. Like whites during the 50′s and 60′s wanted to be. It wasnt his dream to make designer babies… he wanted to create a super race even though he wasnt in it.

  • Mali says:

    Hmm…It’s been mentioned at least ten times in the comments why this technology has nothing to do with eugenics, or ever will. Eugenics stops certain people from breeding. PGD screening allows everyone to breed, even parents with diseases, who can screen out the disease gene so their babies won’t suffer. In other words, please read the other comments before you make an uninformed shout like that, it’s Hitler’s nightmare come true more like it!

    I wonder if people who keep bringing Hitler up secretly still harbor his fantasies, or else why would anyone link the free will of individuals to choosing their own children to the Nazis’ state-controlled dictation of which parents were allowed to give birth and which weren’t. If any, those who oppose the screening of babies are more of the Nazi-mindset that the state, and the majority (even if they’re wrong, like the majority that supported Hitler) can impose their beliefs on the few and the indivudals. That’s why I say let individuals screen their babies, it’s not the state’s business, unless you happen to like fascism. :0

  • maddi says:

    no. it’s not hitler’s dream come true. Hitler believed that a super race should be created. blonde haired blue eyed parents creating blonde and blue offspring. Being able to choose from our own gene pool will still create diverse offspring because not everyone has recessive genes for blonde and blue. There will always be people with dark hair and dark eyes, the majority of the world has these traits. Also, hair and eye color does not give anyone an advantage or disadvantage. Everyone has their own personal preferences. not everyone agrees with Hitler’s idea of a master race of blue’s and blondes. only if everyone in the world agreed with that, would this be hitler’s dream come true. The main purpose of genetic screening is too look for diseases in an embryo. How could one possibly find anything wrong with that?

  • maddi says:

    no. it’s not hitler’s dream come true. Hitler believed that a super race should be created. blonde haired blue eyed parents creating blonde and blue offspring. Being able to choose from our own gene pool will still create diverse offspring because not everyone has recessive genes for blonde and blue. There will always be people with dark hair and dark eyes, the majority of the world has these traits. Also, hair and eye color does not give anyone an advantage or disadvantage. Everyone has their own personal preferences. not everyone agrees with Hitler’s idea of a master race of blue’s and blondes. only if everyone in the world agreed with that, would this be hitler’s dream come true. The main purpose of genetic screening is too look for diseases in an embryo. How could one possibly find anything wrong with that?

  • justin says:

    if you are a carrier of a disease can you take those genes out and how do they do that?

    • Timothy M Anderson says:

      Justin, the “carrier” is the parent, these processes in no way remove the problem from the parent. What it does is artificially fertilizes some of the mother’s eggs with the father’s sperm outside the mother’s body in the lab. Then they test the resulting embryos and the ones that do not show signs of the disorder would be implanted in the mother and carried to term in order to produce a healthy baby. Nothing is changed in the parents genes nor is there any direct manipulation of the embryo’s genes. Does that make sense?

  • justin says:

    if you are a carrier of a disease can you take those genes out and how do they do that?

    • Timothy M Anderson says:

      Justin, the “carrier” is the parent, these processes in no way remove the problem from the parent. What it does is artificially fertilizes some of the mother’s eggs with the father’s sperm outside the mother’s body in the lab. Then they test the resulting embryos and the ones that do not show signs of the disorder would be implanted in the mother and carried to term in order to produce a healthy baby. Nothing is changed in the parents genes nor is there any direct manipulation of the embryo’s genes. Does that make sense?

  • norina blue says:

    IT IS NOT HITLER’S DREAM…..YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY THAT EVER AGIAN…I AM MAD AT YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • norina blue says:

    IT IS NOT HITLER’S DREAM…..YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY THAT EVER AGIAN…I AM MAD AT YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brittany Hatfield says:

    Lol, she’s right. This would create all new prejudices and discrimination. i can already hear the teasing designer babies will get “my mommy and daddy loved me enough to take me as god made me. can you say that about yours?”

  • Brittany Hatfield says:

    Lol, she’s right. This would create all new prejudices and discrimination. i can already hear the teasing designer babies will get “my mommy and daddy loved me enough to take me as god made me. can you say that about yours?”

  • Dante says:

    Genetic engineering is still young, and comments about “its hitlers dream” blah blah blah those are comments religion bound critics are making, because they are scared of “playing god”. Genetic engineering will save many lives in the future, in fact, it has already been used to save several individuals. Wouldn’t god want for poeple to be saved?

  • YouPathetic says:

    Can yall just get over it? And stop bringing Hitler into this? hes dead and there aint nothin u can do about it.

  • YouPathetic says:

    Can yall just get over it? And stop bringing Hitler into this? hes dead and there aint nothin u can do about it.

  • YouPathetic says:

    You know what? I’m writing a report on this, and this is what I say. I am for genetically engineered babies or also called “designer babies”, because it is a good advancement in human technology. I am against the smaller idea of changing the gender of the baby using the technology, because really without women there would be no way to make more people and the human race would be no more. Anyway, I agree with designer babies because you could change the genes from maybe having traces of heart disease, to being normal and healthy ones. It is great that they have this technology because in the long run we would not have families trying to pay for their disabled children when they could change the genes before the baby was even born. A quote from only proves my point. “In the future we may be able to “cure” geneticy diseases in embryos by replacing faulty sections of DNA with healthy DNA. This is called germ line therapy and is carried out on an egg, sperm or a tiny fertilized embryo. Such therapy has successfully been done on animal embryos but at present it is illegal to do this in humans.”
     
    ­http://www.bionetonline.org/English/content/db_cont1.htm
     
     I agree with the statement because it is completely true. And I think it is okay to keep it illegal to do with humans until it is further tested and proven safe for human embryos. I think some people are against designer babies because  they don’t think it is safe for babies, they don’t want to believe that technology is advancing and people are smart enough to still be advancing it every second, or they just don’t like it because they are very religious and do not like the fact that you could change your baby because they believe God made their baby the way he made it for a reason.
    But I believe it is okay to have designer babies available for parents. A quote from wired.com will persuade you to agree with me. “If nobody gets hurt and everybody has access, says Hughes, then genetic modification is perfectly fine, and restricting it is an assault on reproductive freedom. “It’s in the same category as abortion. If you think women have the right to control their own bodies, then they should be able to make this choice,” he said. “There should be no law restricting the kind of kids people have, unless there’s gross evidence that they’re going to harm that kid, or harm society.” I agree with Hughes because he is absolutely right. If you want to change your baby, why shouldn’t you have the right to? If you allow women to change their bodies, why cant they change their baby’s? There needs to be more proof if there is going to be an argument, and I have seen little proof that designing your own baby is going to harm anyone or anything. Some people are possibly just afraid that it will harm the baby, when it wont. They could just implant more embryos into the woman. If you were pregnant and your child had gotten genes of a disease from your genes, would you not want them to not have the disease? It maybe easy to cope with for you, you may have gotten it after you were a baby. But the baby might not survive if it had the disease. Babies are vulnerable in pretty much every way possible, so there would be a very high chance they would not make it very long. Some people say that if you want the best for your child you would not design your baby. But if you really wanted the best for it you would use it to make sure it will be healthy when it is born and not have, or be vulnerable to a possibly dangerous disease. I know some people don’t care much for their children, but if you are one of those people who care for their children, would you stuff them with sweets all the time? If you wanted the best for them, then no. This is the same thing. Lets say your baby was born overweight. Would you just let it stay like that, or try to make it slimmer? What would be the best for the baby if you care so much about it. You would try to make it slimmer. This is the same thing! If your baby was born with a disease, would you want to treat it or possibly cure it, or just leave it as it is? You’d want to cure it. If you could change the genetics of the baby so it wouldn’t have the disease, you would be crazy not to.

  • YouPathetic says:

    You know what? I’m writing a report on this, and this is what I say. I am for genetically engineered babies or also called “designer babies”, because it is a good advancement in human technology. I am against the smaller idea of changing the gender of the baby using the technology, because really without women there would be no way to make more people and the human race would be no more. Anyway, I agree with designer babies because you could change the genes from maybe having traces of heart disease, to being normal and healthy ones. It is great that they have this technology because in the long run we would not have families trying to pay for their disabled children when they could change the genes before the baby was even born. A quote from only proves my point. “In the future we may be able to “cure” geneticy diseases in embryos by replacing faulty sections of DNA with healthy DNA. This is called germ line therapy and is carried out on an egg, sperm or a tiny fertilized embryo. Such therapy has successfully been done on animal embryos but at present it is illegal to do this in humans.”
     
    ­http://www.bionetonline.org/English/content/db_cont1.htm
     
     I agree with the statement because it is completely true. And I think it is okay to keep it illegal to do with humans until it is further tested and proven safe for human embryos. I think some people are against designer babies because  they don’t think it is safe for babies, they don’t want to believe that technology is advancing and people are smart enough to still be advancing it every second, or they just don’t like it because they are very religious and do not like the fact that you could change your baby because they believe God made their baby the way he made it for a reason.
    But I believe it is okay to have designer babies available for parents. A quote from wired.com will persuade you to agree with me. “If nobody gets hurt and everybody has access, says Hughes, then genetic modification is perfectly fine, and restricting it is an assault on reproductive freedom. “It’s in the same category as abortion. If you think women have the right to control their own bodies, then they should be able to make this choice,” he said. “There should be no law restricting the kind of kids people have, unless there’s gross evidence that they’re going to harm that kid, or harm society.” I agree with Hughes because he is absolutely right. If you want to change your baby, why shouldn’t you have the right to? If you allow women to change their bodies, why cant they change their baby’s? There needs to be more proof if there is going to be an argument, and I have seen little proof that designing your own baby is going to harm anyone or anything. Some people are possibly just afraid that it will harm the baby, when it wont. They could just implant more embryos into the woman. If you were pregnant and your child had gotten genes of a disease from your genes, would you not want them to not have the disease? It maybe easy to cope with for you, you may have gotten it after you were a baby. But the baby might not survive if it had the disease. Babies are vulnerable in pretty much every way possible, so there would be a very high chance they would not make it very long. Some people say that if you want the best for your child you would not design your baby. But if you really wanted the best for it you would use it to make sure it will be healthy when it is born and not have, or be vulnerable to a possibly dangerous disease. I know some people don’t care much for their children, but if you are one of those people who care for their children, would you stuff them with sweets all the time? If you wanted the best for them, then no. This is the same thing. Lets say your baby was born overweight. Would you just let it stay like that, or try to make it slimmer? What would be the best for the baby if you care so much about it. You would try to make it slimmer. This is the same thing! If your baby was born with a disease, would you want to treat it or possibly cure it, or just leave it as it is? You’d want to cure it. If you could change the genetics of the baby so it wouldn’t have the disease, you would be crazy not to.

    • Hydroxide says:

      “I am against the smaller idea of changing the gender of the baby using the technology, because really without women there would be no way to make more people and the human race would be no more.”

      There are almost 7 billion people on this planet and you’re worried about the potential extinction of the human race a gender change would cause? We need less people, not more, because the economy can’t support more people.

  • YouPathetic says:

    It is defenitely NOT Hilter’s dream. Have you even heard the facts of the holocaust that Hitler started? He punished for races… and he would probably be against designing your own baby. He just wanted a super race. Like whites during the 50′s and 60′s wanted to be. It wasnt his dream to make designer babies… he wanted to create a super race even though he wasnt in it.

  • Beth,Georgia&Anique says:

    Bethany: HE
    Anique: HE
    Georgia: Shut up !?!?

  • Beth,Georgia&Anique says:

    Bethany: HE
    Anique: HE
    Georgia: Shut up !?!?

  • Trey says:

    dude your a self righteous ass. it just comes down to personal beliefs. if you as a parent think that your baby will have a better life if you get to pick the traits then it is the parents choice. as for the elimination of genetic diseases, having the chance to stop your child from having down syndrome, or any other disease, and not doing it is condemning your child to a harder life or even death. Take the case of Cindy and John Whitley. Their first child died at the age of 9 months from a deadly genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy. Genetic analysis uncovered that the Whitley’s statistically had a 1 in 4 chance of creating a child with spinal muscular atrophy each time they conceived. Unwilling to risk having another child with the deadly disorder, the Whitley’s used PGD to conceive three children, all healthy.

  • Luna says:

    I just can't wait until God steps into the picture.

  • Jessi says:

    If we start Geneticaly altering children to be healthy and athletic and blah blah blah…there will be no diversity in this world. History and science shows us that populations with no diversity die off fast. Because if one of them can get a disease then it can quickly spread to the others because there is nothing that can difrenciat between the two. Further more disease, even tho painful in many situations, is what keeps this world in balance and in check. If we stop diease then people stop dieing, people stop dieng then the world becomes over populated then we hope and pray to god that we can find another planet to occupy…then what we destroy that planet??? And to all of you people that believe that god does not play a role in this….If it is gods will for your child to have a disease…then it is his will and it will happen. The minute we as humans start playing god…all hell will break lose!! If you look iany were in nauter you will not find a creatur that is perfect…you can not find perfection in nature it just dosn’t happen….so why do humans what so badly to be perfect??? accept your life the way that is is…its that way for a reason…

  • Jessi says:

    If we start Geneticaly altering children to be healthy and athletic and blah blah blah…there will be no diversity in this world. History and science shows us that populations with no diversity die off fast. Because if one of them can get a disease then it can quickly spread to the others because there is nothing that can difrenciat between the two. Further more disease, even tho painful in many situations, is what keeps this world in balance and in check. If we stop diease then people stop dieing, people stop dieng then the world becomes over populated then we hope and pray to god that we can find another planet to occupy…then what we destroy that planet??? And to all of you people that believe that god does not play a role in this….If it is gods will for your child to have a disease…then it is his will and it will happen. The minute we as humans start playing god…all hell will break lose!! If you look iany were in nauter you will not find a creatur that is perfect…you can not find perfection in nature it just dosn’t happen….so why do humans what so badly to be perfect??? accept your life the way that is is…its that way for a reason…

  • rob says:

    you are one sick individual

  • rob says:

    you are one sick individual

  • pickachu says:

    This is just an opinion and thats it.
    If you as a parent were to modify your unborn baby, aren’t you just being superficial? Because isnt it just saying, “no matter what, you will not be good enough for us, so therefore we will choose for you.”

    And what if your child does not want the traits you give them, what if they just want to be like everyone else and be “normal”?
    I mean all good and well that we can erradicate disease but is there a line that we are crossing in making a decision for an unborn person?
    And what is wrong with surprises?

    Also, with people mentioning God. If God wanted people to be able to choose characteristics, we would have been doing it for a long time already. We are just given the choice to either screw up our whole world, by making modified people feeling high and mighty because their parents were too stuck up to let nature take its course.

    At the end. I just think it is impropper for us as people to choose features for a child who may just want to be normal.

    Everyone had made good points but I just think there will be a large segregation and maybe even war or something huge and dramatic between Modified and Unmodified.

  • pickachu says:

    This is just an opinion and thats it.
    If you as a parent were to modify your unborn baby, aren’t you just being superficial? Because isnt it just saying, “no matter what, you will not be good enough for us, so therefore we will choose for you.”

    And what if your child does not want the traits you give them, what if they just want to be like everyone else and be “normal”?
    I mean all good and well that we can erradicate disease but is there a line that we are crossing in making a decision for an unborn person?
    And what is wrong with surprises?

    Also, with people mentioning God. If God wanted people to be able to choose characteristics, we would have been doing it for a long time already. We are just given the choice to either screw up our whole world, by making modified people feeling high and mighty because their parents were too stuck up to let nature take its course.

    At the end. I just think it is impropper for us as people to choose features for a child who may just want to be normal.

    Everyone had made good points but I just think there will be a large segregation and maybe even war or something huge and dramatic between Modified and Unmodified.

  • Jackon says:

    Any help and advice for myself as I am thinking about doing a blog like this?

  • Jackon says:

    Any help and advice for myself as I am thinking about doing a blog like this?

  • JBBW says:

    Not Christian. They were pagans at the top of the hierachy.

  • JBBW says:

    I am 45 old and not going to have a child. Any child of mine would probably have a good chance of suffering depression and bipolar. So I choose not to. If I could be assured that would not happen then I would probably have a child. Why would you deny me that?

  • JBBW says:

    I am 45 old and not going to have a child. Any child of mine would probably have a good chance of suffering depression and bipolar. So I choose not to. If I could be assured that would not happen then I would probably have a child. Why would you deny me that?

  • Casey says:

    I just don’t trust “scientists” to get it right. What happens when two genetically engineered people reproduce?

  • Casey says:

    I just don’t trust “scientists” to get it right. What happens when two genetically engineered people reproduce?

  • sara says:

    We are expecting our first newborn so we have been reading everything we can on what to eat, what to expect, and all the other ins and outs of pregnancy everyone has been talking about. So I appreciate your article. Thanks

  • sara says:

    We are expecting our first newborn so we have been reading everything we can on what to eat, what to expect, and all the other ins and outs of pregnancy everyone has been talking about. So I appreciate your article. Thanks

  • truth says:

    i tell you all, nothing good will come out of this venture you all claim as the holy grail of science. humans are such insatiable beings, never satisfied with what is given to them by God. we keep on discovering, inventing, but you see, nature will never allow this tampering of God’s work to go on. one day, all of us will regret the day we ever glimpsed the cell and placed it on a dish. things change, they’re suppose to change, things die, and are supposed to. our purpose here in this world is to take care of it, not meddle and play God because we never can control such enormous power upon us. remember, this planet is just a speck of dust.

    • gurdiac says:

      What you don’t realise is that this IS God’s work. He gave us the mental capacity to do this so that we can become immortal and get closer to him . . . . . . .

      • Todd says:

        gods not real sorry to break it to you

        • Neurosys says:

          I often think that perhaps the silly notions we hold about the various gods, are really just us recognizing a need for such an entity, because to us, the world needs one.

          Perhaps we are not taking our ‘god given’ or ‘rightful’ role… Perhaps we are becoming what we think god ought to be. I think thats a holier concept than anything else, is completely devoid of sacrilege, perhaps it is not god that frightens us… but the lack of one. Perhaps we will take it upon our collective selves to become such a benevolent creator.

  • truth says:

    i tell you all, nothing good will come out of this venture you all claim as the holy grail of science. humans are such insatiable beings, never satisfied with what is given to them by God. we keep on discovering, inventing, but you see, nature will never allow this tampering of God’s work to go on. one day, all of us will regret the day we ever glimpsed the cell and placed it on a dish. things change, they’re suppose to change, things die, and are supposed to. our purpose here in this world is to take care of it, not meddle and play God because we never can control such enormous power upon us. remember, this planet is just a speck of dust.

    • Benjamin Allen says:

      Well, you’re right that things change…

      BTW, I have some trouble understanding what a person with your belief system is doing on this site…

      I certainly don’t rant about evolution on religious sites, it would be disrespectful.

  • truth says:

    we still have to die…this idea of designing human beings will someday poke into really disturbing realities, say DEATH. this whole idea will become a source of inequality and this will only lead to another chaos. imagine if all the rich are beautiful, and all will want ot be rich and everyone will die wanting to be rich, to be beautiful, to be part of the higher class of the society. then the rich will become fake people, just like plastic surgery. what kind of morality has this generation to pass on to the next? we’ll regret we ever glimpsed a cell and put it in a dish. may God have mercy to your souls all of you who tamper with His creation!

  • truth says:

    we still have to die…this idea of designing human beings will someday poke into really disturbing realities, say DEATH. this whole idea will become a source of inequality and this will only lead to another chaos. imagine if all the rich are beautiful, and all will want ot be rich and everyone will die wanting to be rich, to be beautiful, to be part of the higher class of the society. then the rich will become fake people, just like plastic surgery. what kind of morality has this generation to pass on to the next? we’ll regret we ever glimpsed a cell and put it in a dish. may God have mercy to your souls all of you who tamper with His creation!

    • Neurosys says:

      Have to die?
      Says who?
      I disagree.

      Clearly what you think is of little consequence, since I will be here when you are gone and forgotten. Enjoy raging against the future. You wont win.

  • Guest says:

    I think the big deal is that during screening if you see something that you don’t want, you are going to want to change it…which involves manipulating the genome.

  • Vanesha Prescott says:

    well in my opinion its amazing and a way to get rid of inherited genetic diseases. isnt that better than punishing a child all their life with emotional/ psychological/ physical burdens?

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  • careprost says:

    Great
    loved it, will be waiting for your future posts
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  • pollie-marie says:

    This is good and all but it costs £50,000 for 1 designer baby.
    this includes picking its hair, eye and skin color also it lets you sweep away all disabilaties and genetic illnesses and alergies.

  • Enoch says:

    You don’t believe in supernatural forces(?!!). I hope you may experience the reality of the supernatural God. I agree, there may be some relationship between IQ and belief in God. The higher your IQ the more vulnerable you are to being over confident and self deceived, and less likely you are to find God. Get humble and look for Jesus Christ. “You will find Me when you seek for Me with all your heart.”

  • PRiME says:

    This has pro’s and con’s. If done incorrectly children could be born with new defects such as increased risk of cot-death-syndrome or something else that may not imprint itself till maturity. People considering altering their child need to take a hard long look at the science behind it and make sure it has no nasty unknowns.

    But ethically, designer babies to rid them of defects such as autism or other gene problems etc, I think is a big PRO. Even increasing intelligence so child has a better chance of achieving academically seems ideal.

    It’s a shame good science is almost always bombarded by religious nay-sayers who have exactly ZERO clue of what goes into such sciences, just religious speculation and ignorance. Religion should be left in-home along with family-time, and never allowed in the functions of the REAL world.

    WHY? because religion never looks at the reality of the ‘Human condition’, and rather focuses on fictitious belief system(s) that are best left in fairy tale books! Sorry it had to be said!

  • BigD45 says:

    The real reason we hate this idea is because it leaves out the best part of making humans…. The SEX! i dont care about all the rest of the issues. the only important one is the sex and having lots of it! power to the people who procreate the natural way! +1 for boners!

  • blue_18 says:

    I think some people need to read the article before making comments. The type of selection mentioned is not about selecting genes and inserting them into embryos. It is about pre-screening from a number of embryos to get the healthiest child. There is no change to the human gene pool. Although choosing the embryo that has dads green eyes and moms hazel eyes and bypassing his brown eyes isn’t selecting for health. That is correct. However these are genes already present in the parents. Many people don’t carry the blue eyed and blonde traits in the US anyway. Pre selecting to avoid diseases does sound like a good idea. However we don’t understand enough about these diseases and why they are still in the gene pool to begin with. Some diseases while harmful when expressed homozygously are an advantage when carried heterozygously. Basically you carry the gene but don’t express the disease. Sickle cell anemia is the most understood in this scenario. When a child has two copies it is deadly but when carried heterozygously it gives protection against malaria. We don’t yet understand the advantages of these other “deadly” genes just the disadvantages.

  • blue_18 says:

    Personally I know I carry the red hair gene. I want baby redheads! Don’t really need to choose though would be 50/50 anyway as my partner has red hair and I will either pass on brown or red. Maybe even auburn ;)

  • Frank Whittemore says:

    “Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves”

    Check it out by clicking on the link below -

    http://www.blogginglifeextension.com/?p=7365

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  • jocko says:

    HAHAHA!!!
    I think the science is interesting.
    Also the fact that the continuation of a MAD
    MANS dream to create a pure human race is
    unbelievably still in existence. Not to
    mention the fact that smart people are still
    dumb enough and willing to hop on board with
    this, it is astonishingly amazing to me.
    So hear is my opinion.

    Morality no need to apply it here, for this type of so called
    “manipulation(?)” Or is it just The
    Fertility Institutes that will soon
    be able to offer couples the ability to
    screen embryos for eye color,
    hair color, and complexion for $18,000.00 dollars. The Institute
    can not change the DNA of the donating couple. If it’s not there
    you can’t have it. So it’s no more then glorified test tube/ in Vitro
    baby making company. Where is the earth shattering genetic engineering?
    It looks more like advertising for a dieing industry or company.

    So remember, no matter what you see in the movies. It wont make a super human child, boost intelligence to superhuman I.Q.s, bring success, happiness, emotional stability, record shattering Olympic champion, or an increase of well being. These are environmental, mental and learned not traits, not genetic.

    There is no proof that suppression or
    manipulation of a diseased gene wont
    regenerate at a later date. Lets say for
    example AIDS, it has to be active in order
    for it to be seen.

    Now will these changes be permanent? Or will
    life realign and repair its self over time?
    A child born with blue eyes, blond hair and
    at the age of 3 start to turn brown, both
    eyes and hair. No answers to these
    questions?
    These babies are only human experiments.

    While reading the comments, as usual there
    are those that think they have all of the
    facts and answers. believe me history says
    you don’t. (especially you so called
    enlighten higher I.Q. scientist..hehe.)
    By the way I.Q. dose not determine
    whether you believe in God or not.

    So just to clarify a fact. we are nowhere
    near perfecting cloning and to make a
    statement that a baby can be made from a
    single skin cell is a out right lie.
    Look at it this way. When science can 100%
    understand every single cell in the human
    body. Only then will we be able to create a
    life from a single skin cell and in the
    process cure diseases forever.
    But until then we are just mixing acids and
    bases.
    So I leave you with peace, love, live long and prosper.

    • Frank Whittemore says:

      Jocko, perhaps you need to study up on this…

      Here’s what China says – http://www.blogginglifeextension.com/?p=7447

      Here’s what the UK says – http://www.blogginglifeextension.com/?p=7105

      Your ignorance is showing.

    • Benjamin Allen says:

      “There is no proof that suppression or
      manipulation of a diseased gene wont
      regenerate at a later date. Lets say for
      example AIDS, it has to be active in order
      for it to be seen.”

      So… AIDS is not a genetic disease, it’s viral. They’re talking about sickle cell anemia, tay sacks, parkinson’s, etc. These diseases are caused by faulty genes, which would not be suppressed or even manipulated. They would simply be screened out. It wouldn’t be a change to a diseased person, but the selection of a healthy person. This person would then be no more likely than anyone else to spontaneously mutate the allele during an early enough stage of development for the disease to be present. Which is REALLY unlikely.

  • Ian Richardson says:

    Can I get one in Burberry pattern?

  • jo.thorium says:

    Why not be able to choose characteristics in your child. When you get married, often what attracted you to that person was certain physical characteristics. In modern society there are many physical characteristics that are being lost because the genes that regulate them are recessive. Red hair is one of them; It is very rare today, in 100 years it may only be a distant memory.

  • Allen Luo says:

    I’m not sure a free market approach to this new technique is the correct one. People with money and subsequently, more leisure time, have the bad habit of following trends and fashions. Of course I’m thinking of the far future where genetic modification will be available to the entirety of the human race, rather than just the rich.

    They should split genetic modification into specific categories from which parents can select. For example Column A would include all of the lower level changes that inform what types of diseases and disorders to which their children will have resistances or immunity. Column B would include slightly higher level changes like the health and operation of vital organs and internal systems like neural or lymphatic systems, as well as things like exclusion of near/farsightedness. Column C would include height, weight, skeletal, lymphatic, and neurological systems. Column D would include all the superficial and relatively inconsequential traits to be selected like hair color, skin color, eye color, etc.

    There should be a heavy restriction placed on the specific number of traits you can choose to modify, so in a way you can ensure a certain amount of genetic diversity among your population to guard against new genetic disorders or vulnerabilities to new strains of diseases that might arise. This way you can assure the general genetic integrity of the entire species.

    Of course all of this implies a governmental involvement in the process, and that probably isn’t going to be likely until a crisis rears its head, like when overpopulation gets to a point that threatens civilization as we know it.

    Also, I believe that you should have less freedom to modify things as you go from column A to column D. I am firmly against parents genetically selecting completely inconsequential traits like hair color, complexion, things like that. After all, who wants to live in a world where everyone looks the same? Some of it has to be left up to chance, or life isn’t going to be very worth living, if you feel like everything you do has been predetermined from birth, am I right?

  • Mary Sarkies says:

    This is absolutely horrendous!! There is no difference between sex-selection and abortion. Think about it: say you have 8 embryos. 1 of the 8 will be used to create your “dream child”, so what happens to the 7 remaining? They are discarded (in other words killed). Those 7 embryos could have become 7 other babies! I am Christian, pro-life, and the proud mother of 5 amazing children, and I love them because they are mine. I am glad I didn’t customize them, because then they wouldn’t be mine… they’d belong to a test tube. You should love your children for the same reason I do. Making them your own Build-A-Bear baby is sickening, and it definitely is unethical!

  • Nadine Abrahams says:

    This is interesting I suffer from genetic deletions yet my family members average a higher than normal IQ. Do you wish that i should not have children? I do beleive in using medicine to cure painful disabilites or life threatening ones. Then again through some suffering we gain compassion and wisdom. For the persons saying children are useless and a burden on the system until eighteen, I wonder if your parents felt that way? Also do your research some problems can occur in vitro or de novo without scientific intervention. What would you do then? Do as you feel necessary but dont assume people are trash due to poverty. With you lack of empathy, I know who I would wish the blessing of life upon.

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