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Are Designer Babies Wrong?

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Introduction

Are Designer Babies Wrong? What is a designer baby? The term ' designer baby' originated from journalists to describe the process of modifying human embryos, which could then in the near future led to the horrific idea that technology could allow parents to chose desirable characteristics for their unborn children. However in actual fact this is not what scientists are trying to propose, the concept that many scientists are trying to adapt is the use in advanced technology to help decrease some parents chances of having a baby with a genetic disorder such as cystic fibrosis. Yet in recent times the term designer baby has been used a bit too freely, mostly within journalism , and has created a negative shadow over the process of modifying embryos, in the constant fear that superficial needs will take hold. Naturally there are many ethical issues which arise when the topic of designer babies crops up, hence creating the argument whether the medical procedure is effectively 'wrong.' A designer baby is only produced via two methods, which both take place externally outside of the mother. The first is In Vitro Fertillisation, more commonly known as IVF, which involves the fertillising of the egg outside of the mother's body, where the sperm is specifically chosen to fertillise the egg, based on the genes that the sperm carries, effectively allowing doctors to determine what genes the embryo will have and identifying the sex. The second technique is called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which once again takes place in a laboratory, but this time the egg has been fertillised and therefore is effectively classified as an embryo. Several embryos are fertillised with the aid of technology, usually involving the IVF, for couples who find it hard to conceive. A screening of the embryos then takes place , which allows scientists to identify which embryos will be born with a genetic disease, and which will not, it is only these 'healthy' embryos that are implanted back into the mothers womb. ...read more.

Middle

Many argue that the child is being 'used' and the parents would be greatly disappointed if once born the child, was not able to provide the required cells needed to help save their sibling, and could cause resentment. Also is it fair to ask for a child to have this weight on its shoulders as it grows up, that when it is old enough to be operated on, their elder sibling is going to rely on them to under go surgery, as their last chance to live? However the main concern that people share in designer babies, is literally what it stands for, that in the future couples will be able to design characteristics in their children, and choose desirable features such as eye colour, sex, and hair colour. There is this risk within the society that we live in today that this could in fact happen. If you study the superficial factors that dominate our culture through the press and celebrity imagery, it is not hard to imagine that within say 20 years time, the rich and famous will be able to afford to design their child, in order for them ' fit in.' The Case Against With any controversial argument you have to weigh up the pros and cons, and it has to be said that there are a great deal of advantages to the procedures that create designer babies. The ultimate advantage has to be the quality of life that the child will have, with the screening that takes place of the genetic information that the embryos hold within the laboratory, scientists can prevent a child from being born with deadly diseases such as Huntingdon's Disease. Surely this is not only more beneficial to the unborn child, who will not have to face life with this impediment, but one must also take into careful consideration the lives of the parents. Naturally all parents will want their children to be happy, healthy and to have a long life, however there are couples ...read more.

Conclusion

of an elder sibling, against the fantasy that in future generations we will be able to design our children, I feel that the life of the sick child bares far more ground. One must also consider the quality of life that a child would have, if natural fertilization had been allowed to take place between the parents who carried the recessive allele for such genetic diseases as cystic fibrosis. By screening embryos before hand, and preventing the development of an embryo , you are effectively preventing a child from having a low quality of life, which could be filled with suffering through their illness. The devastation the parents would have to face as well, would be immense if the child would have only a short life , and within it be in pain. Naturally I can appreciate the moral issues that arise with any medical interference, and can accept how an individual could see it wrong to dispose of embryos, but without these chances the lives of young children would be wasted, or a child being born with a life threatening disease. To conclude it is society's view that needs to change, and needs to realize that as long as no body requests to design their baby, then scientists are not going to offer it. Thousands of scientists and biochemists have empahised the seriousness that is IVF and PGD, and that they do serve a real purpose, and have no intention to use it to make money, or create cosmetically designed children. So why are we even considering it? Just like the issue of cloning, the aims of serious scientists is not to clone human beings because their too believe it is unethical, and yet we are so far away from reaching that catastrophic phase, so why should we face the birth of many children with genetic diseases, or risk losing their lives if siblings because to screen embryos 'designer babies' may one day increase the chances of human cloning, this cannot be just? ...read more.

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