Science and Civilization


Scienceand Civilization

Scienceand Civilization

Article:The prospect of designer babies, is it inevitable?

Catalano,2012 in his article “theprospect of designer babies, is it inevitable?”envisions a society in which prospective parents will be capable ofshopping for preferable traits to design their babies. This willprevent surprises as parents will be able to deliver children withtheir preferred traits and mostly avoiding the geneticallytransmitted diseases such as Down syndrome. There have been numerousdiscussions on the issue of designer babies outlining its benefitsand ethical implications but few studies have considered thepossibility of the practice happening (Catalano, 2012). Catalano,therefore, argues that, despite the practice not attracting unanimouspublic support in the meantime, it is happening and the publicopinion may change in future. So instead of using ethical andmorality grounds to reject it, the government should considerdesigning the regulation to control the practice from getting out ofhand.

Adesigner baby is a baby whose genetic makeup has been selected toeradicate a particular defect, or to ensure that a particular gene ispresent. This is achieved through genetic engineering, where agenetic makeup is altered or modified to deliver the required traitcombinations. Genetic modification has not fully developed butcurrent procedures include the process of pre-implantation geneticdiagnosis, where the geneticists analyze the genes for geneticillnesses and use in vitro fertilization to implant the unaffectedgenes. Secondly, there is a process of nuclear transfer in which thenuclear is removed from the zygote and replaced with another egg.Similarly, there is ooplasm transfer, used to implant ooplasm in thezygote and the use of artificial chromosome to carry the genes.

Inmy view, technological advancements, especially in the health sector,are important because they help in eradicating the burden of disease. It feels quite appropriate for a couple who are carries of certainconditions such as Fragile X syndrome, cystic Fibrosis and Downsyndrome can actually be able to design a normal baby through thisintervention. The practice is said to benefit the couple, the babyand the federal government at large. As such, the practice can beused to eradicate the diseases that impose a huge burden in thefederal budget. Whereas there are currently developed methods ofgenetic modification aimed at controlling genetic diseases, moremodification may evolve in future with greater capabilities includingthe possibilities of altering the course of humanity.

Itis evident that genetic modification can enable parents to designbabies who are smarter, better looking and more athletic. Thepractice will not only improve the lives of the individuals but alsoimprove social intelligence and productivity. However everyone wantsto outsmart the other and production of genetic babies may lead tounhealthy competition between countries in attempt to producesuperior people with superior genes. Much as the Americans might beconservative and limit the genetic modifications to controllinggenetic diseases, their opinion is deemed to change in future wherecountries like China with varied believes engages filly intoextensive research on genetics and genomics and engineer Chinesechildren to become superior individuals. To keep up with China andpreserve the strength of being a super power nation, the opinion maychange in future. It is therefore, necessary for the government toacknowledge that genetic babies production is inevitable and lay downregulation to control the practice so that to does not get overlycompetitive.


Catalano,M (2012). The prospect of designer babies: Is it inevitable? PITJournal