Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Designer Babies . . . The Future Generation

For those who have never heard of this term a “Designer Baby” is defined as "a baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected through genetic engineering combined with  InVitro fertilization to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes or characteristics. The way in which this process works is using InVitro fertilisation to fertilise an egg with sperm in test-tubes outside the mother’s body. This allows the parents to choose the sex of the child, its physical appearance, while holding the power to eliminate genetic diseases. This technique has spurred a lot of controversy.


Genetic screening can reduce the baby's chances of being born with several serious diseases like Down
Syndrome, Famial hypercholesterolemia, rare blood disorders such as Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, and many more. Adam Nash was the world's first known designer baby born by the revolutionary pre-implantation process in the year 2000. Scientists genetically selected his embryo so that he would possess the right cells to save his dying sister's life. His sister suffered from Fanconi's anaemia which is a blood disorder, and the chances of Adam obtaining the disease were very high . Through  the process an embryo was chosen, which did not have Fanconi's anaemia. Adam became a donor to his sister, which doubled her chances of survival. As you can see through technique a life was saved. Nevertheless In January 2009, a British mother gave birth to a healthy baby girl having used this process to ensure her child did not inherit her breast cancer causing BRCA1 gene. This allowed someone once unable to conceive , have the miraculous ability to give birth to a healthy child.

Cons of Designer Babies:                                                    

This technique is not limited to screening for genetic and hereditary disorders, but is also used for cosmetic reasons. Dr Jeff Steinburg, Director of the Los Angeles Fertility Institute, who played a major role in the world's first test tube baby in 1978, states that by using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, parents can choose the gender, eye, skin and hair color of the baby. Various other traits such as intelligence, beauty, height, stopping a propensity towards obesity, freedom from mental illnesses, athletic ability, and so on.

The adoption of genetic engineering for cosmetic reasons and genetic enhancements has spearheaded a lot of controversies. Critics point out that if this technique became widely used the level of biodiversity in the human race will plummet, which can result in long term disasters.


In today‘s society, people who have genetic defects are already treated differently and cast out from society in several parts across the world. Designer babies, will lead to discrimination on the basis of certain qualities or traits. Whether you see “ Designer babies” as unethical  or a great technological advancement is your opinion. I believe it holds great benefits that can reduce genetic disorder and reduce future suffering if used appropriately.  


"What Is a Designer Baby?" Bionet - New Discoveries in Life Sciences - Explore the Science and Debate the Issues. Web. 08 Nov. 2010. http://www.bionetonline.org/english/content/db_cont1.htm.

Johnson, By Priya. "Pros and Cons of Designer Babies." Intelligent Life on the Web. Web. 08 Nov. 2010. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-designer-babies.html.

"Pre-Genetic Implantation Diagnosis Pros and Cons: Designer Babies Debate Caused by Birth of First
BRCA1 Screened Child." Online Magazine and Writers' Network. Web. 08 Nov. 2010. http://www.suite101.com/content/pregenetic-implantation-diagnosis-pros-and-cons-a158761.



By Priya. "Pros and Cons of Designer Babies." Intelligent Life on the Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2010. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-designer-babies.html.

By, Park/New York, and Thompson/Washington. "Designer Babies - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,989987,00.html.



  1. The idea that a designer baby can cure many genetic diseases is very tempting. Knowing that your child wont suffer from those diseases can give parents the re-assurance there baby will be okay. But once parents want to genetically modify the way their children will look and even act is where i completely disagree with the entire idea. Changing the way our children looks just to fit todays standards are wrong. We were all made differently and perfect in our own way and when we start messing around with the things that are our makeup... are we really "real"? Did you also know that with PGD parents can chose to fix things like shyness and baldness? As humans we love to figure out new things but is a designer baby really that good of an idea? We also musn't forget that if the baby doesnt meet up to the parents and doctors standards they are discarded. Anyways, i really enjoyed your blog it was insightful and you touched on both the pros and the cons of this very controversial topic. Good job! :)

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  2. I agree with you when you say that the use of this technology can be beneficial, to an extent. Of course screening for life-changing/threatening diseases, disorders, and conditions is an amazing procedure that can lead to many other great discoveries. However, if a parent is so discouraged by the possibility of their child having a mental issue, such as Down-Syndrome, would they really love their child unconditionally? What if their child was to become challenged in another way during their life, due to a damaging accident? Would the parent still love their child or would their love only be conditional because their child would no longer be their designer baby? This issue of love for the perfect and child and not for a child, flaws and all, makes me think it could only really cause damage to the child in one way or another.

    Furthermore, I completely disagree with choosing physical attributes for your child. A parent should not be that fixated on their child's appearance that they feel the need to have their child's hair colour, for example, predetermined.

    One thing you touched on that I found interesting, and had never occurred to me before, was a child not getting a chance to choose their own interests. It makes me wonder if technology could go so far as to set whatever's in the mind that makes someone interested in certain things, so that a child would share the same interests as their parents ... which would just be weird, to me.

    I really enjoyed reading your entry. It brought up a lot of new information and gave me a lot to think about. Good job!

  3. Hey Grace,

    I enjoyed your post about 'designer babies', and I really liked how you put both the pros and cons of this technology. I, myself, completely agree with using genetic screening to prevent children from inheriting diseases. I understand how this can be 'morally and/or ethically wrong', and maybe I'm not exactly 'religious', but I see no problem with using only healthy embryos to introduce to the mother's womb.

    But using this type of genetic screening for cosmetic reasons is wrong, and I disagree on using PGD for things like that.

    I really liked how you wrote about the child loosing its choice in its interests and activities because of genetic modification. It's something I haven't thought about, and it makes a really great point against picking out traits that the parents want for the child.

    I agree with screening for inheritable diseases, but choosing your child's traits so they can fit the parents' interests is very wrong.

    Your entry was very informative and I enjoyed reading it!

  4. Hey Grace!
    Wow, I really liked your bioblog!
    It was constructive, well-organized and got me thinking. The way you put it made me think we are definently not the ones to decide what or what doesn't go into life- that is definently God's call. Researchers and doctors can go for In Virto Fertalization, but you are right- I do not think this is worth the risk. We are placing alot out into the table and asking for alot back in return. Although this treatment is good for babies such as Adam's sister who needed a donor, at the same time it is wrong because it does take away the precious meaning of life. Not only is life taken or given, it takes away the actual and natural traits of the child which belongs to the child and is the child's rights- not the parents or any doctor for that matter. This technique is definently not worth the try because so much can go wrong and it will be consequential and dangerous to the Designer Baby. We cannot just disregard a life like that and ruin a life just because of some technique which is seen as good but may indeed be just like Hitler- a disaster in disguise. Humanity is beautiful not because of the superiority of the race, but because of the unique characteristics present in every human. Slowly, if this technique is used, it will ruin the beauty of humanity and make humans something far from the race we are. We are no one to decide who gets to live and who doesnt, we should just accept every individual for who they are regardless of color, skin, hair type or any physical characterstics.
    Grace, I love your blog, it definently made me think and now I now I am 100% against this technique for sure.
    Good job :)

  5. hey Grace...
    I really liked the layout of your blog. You have some really good points, and the pros and cons were conveniently labled. I completely agree with what you said about the special medical treatment given to the wealthy families. This would unfairly exclude the children from a lower class family. Your post has lots of background research and evidence to support your points and ideas. I think that people should take advantage of the fact that screening and removing diseases has been made possible. I agree with the fact that if it is used to a certain extent, it can be very beneficial. you should write more about where you stand and your opinion. Nice work :)

  6. Grace,
    I liked how you really went into depth on the topic, extensive research was definetely evident. I agree with you when you said that if it were to happen, it would discriminate on certain features and I think this would be very bad because we are all human and we are the way we are for a reason. Yes, if our parents had chosen everything our rights would be taken away from us and we would represent only what our parents wanted for us rather than being or living as an individual. I find it curious how some people have compared this to the antics of Adolf Hitler. It would be interesting to see the reaction of all parties if this quote were to reach an open discussion. Great blog, leaves me wanting more to read!

  7. Hey Grace, I like your blog! You got your own perspective in it and an interesting fact about the Aryan race that really relates to the topic of designer babies and how we shouldn't alter what God has made for us. Like.. why wouldn't you accept the child that you have conceived from God? Altering the appearance and traits of the baby is just unethical and immoral, in my sense. And I agree with you when you say that parents who give their kids genetic enhancements will get an unfair advantage. I also like the fact that you got a lot of articles in your blog. Totally backed up with good information. I also agree with you when you say that yes, it's a bad thing because people would then misuse this technique, and then it would damage our biodiversity, however, it's also a good thing because then you can somehow prevent illnesses. Awesome blog Grace!

  8. Thank you
    genetically engineered babies,