How would you react if you were told you have the power to design your first child? WSDL you be disgusted with the thought? WSDL you be curious about this new process? This is a question that has been popping up more and more at fertility clinics across the nation. This interesting process is known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PEG). Basically, PEG is a technique whereby a three-day-old embryo, consisting of about six cells, is tested in a lab to see if it carries a particular genetic disease.
Embryos free of that disease are implanted in the mother’s womb. Introduced in the sass, it has allowed thousands of parent’s to avoid passing on deadly disorders to their children (Nazi 1). This concept is no longer something that we read in science fiction novels. This is the new reality. Over time, there have been even more advancements involving pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, and being able to create the appearance of your child is one of them. The term used for these genetically engineered children is “designer babies”.
It is the concept that in the near true parent’s will be able to select the medicinal traits in their children. This includes gender, hair color, skin tone, intelligence, athletic ability, etc. Parent’s can literally design their child using physical and mental traits. If this becomes true, what type of society will we be living live in? This might seem like a harmless idea, but the truth is where do we draw the line? Being able to design your own child gives humans the power to play the part of God.
Although the idea of being able to design your own child has its advantages, in the long run it could cause some very vegetating effects. First off, PEG originally was created to help ensure that parent’s do not pass down any life-threatening diseases or mutations to their children. Pre- implantation genetic diagnosis is basically the genetic screening and profiling of embryos before they are implanted into the mother. It helps to identify certain embryos that may be at risk for problems. The doctors can then eliminate these embryos from being implanted.
This method decreases the chances of the child being born with defects or disease. PEG requires in vitro fertilization because the embryos need to be tested beforehand. Most people support the use of PEG to help prevent the child from inheriting certain defects. In fact, PEG is actually becoming more and more popular because, “In a recent U. S. Survey of 999 people who sought genetic counseling, a majority said they supported prenatal genetic tests for the elimination of certain serious diseases.
The survey found that 56% supported using them to counter blindness and 75% for mental retardation” (Nazi 2). One example of a disease that can be prevented is cystic fibrosis. In vitro fertilization and diagnosis urine embryonic development basically only allows the unaffected embryos to be chosen for transfer into the uterus. Cystic fibrosis is a debilitating disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. It is caused by a defective gene and its protein product (CUFF 1). People that have this disease are not expected to live past their thirties or forties.
Some doctors would prefer the mother to terminate the pregnancy if the child has cystic fibrosis. With the help of PEG, this will not have to happen. PEG is an amazing medical advancement that benefits many c I n Eider around the world. Not only are scientists at these fertility clinics using PEG to prevent diseases, but they are also using it to select embryos that are more prone to certain diseases or defects. This is when science starts to cross some ethical boundaries, and becomes a sticky subject.
For example, a deaf couple might want to have a child that is also deaf because they feel they will fit in better with the couple’s deaf culture. Some deaf people are already fighting for the rights to choose if their child can hear because they believe they are a part of a linguistic minority. This is known as negative enhancement (Nazi 2). While no clinics have reportedly opted for this, it is still something that needs to be taken into consideration. Although these deaf parent’s might have good intentions, it is not their right to control whether their child is able to hear.
That is playing God and in the long run it is taking away opportunities from this child. Many children have grown up Just fine with deaf parent’s, so there is no reason to make them deaf as well. This is why PEG should not be used to genetically create children, because it gives parent’s the power to choose how their child is born. Children are not meant to be designed and ordered like clothes. Second, although all of the things listed in the previous paragraph are positive aspects of PEG, there are a lot of negative ones that outweigh those previously listed.
The number one major reason why PEG can be extremely risky is because any manipulation of genes is going to have higher risks of failure. Many human traits are controlled by multiple genetic factors and the knowledge of their workings is incomplete. For trait selection, a big hurdle is getting enough useful DNA material from the embryo. It is complicated because, In a typical PEG procedure, a single cell is removed from a six-cell embryo and tested for the relevant genes or Snaps. It’s relatively easy to check and eliminate diseases such as cystic fibrosis that are linked too single malfunctioning gene.
But to read the larger number of SNAP markers associated with complex ailments such as diabetes, or traits like hair color, there often isn’t enough high-quality genetic material (Nazi 2). This meaner that even though scientists are furthering their understanding of the topic, they still do not know enough about it to ensure that there will not be any mistakes. Not only are certain traits affected by DNA alone, but there are environmental factors that have to be taken into consideration as well. In conclusion, it is Just too risky.
Third, while many countries have banned the use of PEG for gender selection, it is still permitted in the U. S. In 2006, a survey by the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University found that 42% of 137 PEG clinics offered a gender- selection service (Nazi). While PEG has long been used for the medical purpose of averting life-threatening diseases in children, the science behind it has quietly regressed to the point that it could potentially be used to create designer babies. It isn’t clear that Fertility Institutes can yet deliver on its claims of trait selection.
But the growth of PEG, unfettered by any state or federal regulations in the U. S. , has accelerated genetic knowledge swiftly enough that pre-selecting cosmetic traits in a baby is no longer the stuff of science fiction (Nazi 1). The sad thing is that parent’s would actually prefer to choose what their child looks like. This gives the impression that they will love their child more if e or seen NAS brown Nair or trickles. Once again, we are playing by thinking we can choose everything, including looks and talents, for our children before they are even growing in the womb.
Most fertility clinics disagree with the idea of using PEG to create designer babies. Kathy Hudson, a doctor at John Hopkins University states that, “There is strong support for using these technologies when there is a health benefit, even when that benefit is for another person, but this support coexists with deep-seated worries about where all these new technologies may be taking us,”. This wows that even doctors are becoming concerned with where this idea is going. Not all doctors have the same opinion as Hudson.
For example, Jeff Steinberg who is the director of a clinic advertising gender and physical trait selection states, “This is cosmetic medicine. Others are frightened by the criticism but we have no problems with it. ” Some doctors will have no problem with it because they are making millions of dollars by being the few that are willing to go through with it. By having the power to design babies we as a population are decreasing human diversity, which is extremely dangerous. Another scary thought is that there can be a superior race because of this new idea. Obviously it is going to be expensive in order to get this testing done.
The rich will be able to have an advantage if they can choose their son’s or daughter’s intelligence, athletic ability, height, appearance, and so much more. Sooner or later, we could have genetically enhanced humans that have the advantage on sports, Job opportunities, education and so much more. On top of that, there is discussion that in the near future it will be possible to create such a thing as a savior sibling” (Telegraph 1). A savior sibling would basically be a child that is born in the case that their brother or sister would ever be in need of an organ donation or cell transplant.
They would genetically create this sibling to have the same blood- type as their brother or sister. If the brother or sister would become sick, then the savior sibling is there to donate whatever is necessary to benefit the health of the other child. A survey of 4,005 Americans was conducted and it showed that 61 percent approve of using PEG to select an embryo that could benefit an ailing sibling, hill 33 percent disapprove of this use Since the savior sibling is meant to donate anything, it does not matter if they survive or not (MINT 1).
Why would we have the right to create a human and only use it for his or her parts? If this became a normal thing, then how would we even treat the savior sibling when it is alive? WSDL the parent’s treat the sibling as one of their own children? Or would the sibling be treated like trash? This could one day be a possibility to help ensure that certain people will not become sick. This is crossing moral boundaries because it is not ethically correct to create a human solely for the use of their body parts.
In conclusion, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis has its benefits. It is able to screen certain embryos for disease and mutation, which is a great thing. It also has the power to create major scientific problems. Not only is there a high risk for genetic mutation when used for cosmetics, but it gives the impression that some humans will already have advantages before they are born. Basically, using PEG to design our children is morally and ethically incorrect.