Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Tweaked tots

Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, 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.

I always get a kick out of these supposed "moral and ethical boundaries" science is always breaching. It seems that most intellectually equipped people refrain from setting arbitrary limits on what others may or may not do, yet those governed by metaphysical conceits think absolutely nothing of imposing notional "barriers" to technologies they don't happen to like. And the reason is never personal; it's always for everyone's well-being.

Spare me the messianic claptrap. Bring on the designer babies.


Anonymous said...

"There is no stopping the designer baby revolution."

I agree, and the same old tired opposition will scream about god's will and the "unnatural" process of messing with something so perfect as human reproduction. To those folks I would suggest checking out the statistics on birth defects each year in this country alone.

On the other hand, I would also point out that there will be mistakes made in the lab as well as in nature. In fact there may be some horrible consequences for some. These will no doubt be used as examples of what our "meddling" with god has brought about. But progress we will and beyond the search for the perfect baby sought by those that can afford the luxury, the ultimate benefit will be reducing or eliminating many birth defects that children and families suffer on a regular basis.

I believe strongly it is in our best interests to prevent defects and disease in advance, rather than just continue to treat the condition. Designer babies is a step in that direction, or so it seems to me.

Besides, if god had wanted man to fly he would have given him wings instead of a brain that allowed him to build wings and take up flying on his own. Jeez, you humans are an arrogant bunch. How dare you!


Intense said...

While I would agree that there should be no objection to preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD screening, of embryos to reduce genetic defects, I would be concerned about gender selection options and their long-term consequences--in some cultures, like the Chinese, the preference for boys might create future difficulties or an imbalance affecting population viability.

And let's not forget how fertility science combined with irresponsible selection choices yielded the fabulous Octomom. So some constraints may still be in order.

Justin said...

It's not so much the screams of the religious that bothers me, as it is the screams of the designer babies as they're chasing me breathlessly through the woods, looking for their next meal, that bothers me.

James said...

I wonder how popular their moral and ethical enhancement packages are going to be

Tristan Eldritch said...

The sooner some god-like AI, or new species of augmented homo sapien, or cloned master race, or other such Frankenstein's monster, stamps our toxic,malapadative asses off the face of this planet the better!

Anonymous said...

Everybody already is a designer baby, except that your parents couldn't choose what to put into the mix.
But that's no problem, there's always plastic surgery.

Beauty is only skin deep and all that jazz, but I wouldn't want to be an "ugly" person in that designer baby world. At least now the ugly people can say that it's not their fault their parents are ugly. In the designer baby world they will have to say: Yes my parents are ugly. And they are poor.
(Or have no taste. I dunno, I rather look stupid by accident than by purpose. ;)

I wonder what the human race will look like if everybody could choose everything. Will we all look like barbie dolls?

Anonymous said...

Didn't the Nazis already try something like this?