Genetics by design

People come in many shapes and sizes and in one of two genders (normally), but until now they’ve never been ‘designer’ – that is they may well wear designer clothes, carry designer handbags (my one vice I have to admit!) or even be a ‘designer’ (for the web, graphics, fashion etc…. ), but designer baby…….. where has that come from.

I can only imagine how a parent must feel when faced with the knowledge that they may pass on an inherited disease to their children, and I can also well imagine why it would be an easy decision to make (when you have the choice) to choose only those potential babies who are free from a particular disorder by a technique called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).  But, where does it end?

This is not a diatribe against those who choose to have this treatment, simply an observation that maybe illness, death and disease might be a human ‘natural predator’ – let’s face it, unlike other animals, we have none (except ourselves).  In other words these are some of the very things that help to keep a balance in the world.  Isn’t it interesting that as soon as one disease is ‘eradicated’ another arises to take it’s place!

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One thought on “Genetics by design

  1. Anne Orchard says:

    A very thoughtful post, Linda. I also have issues, here.

    The reason I personally would not choose this route is knowing that the method involves creating many babies (called fetuses to change the way you think about them) and choosing which ones to implant. What happens to the ‘rejected’ ones? Imagine if you could talk to one of those babies and let them know they weren’t chosen because they may one day get a challenging (but potentially survivable) disease. It would be different if you could ensure that only the sperm and egg not carrying the defective gene met, but that is not what we are talking about here.

    This raises enormous questions, and I only hope that those who choose the treatment have really thought about what they are doing. I, too, feel for those who face such inherited diseases in their family, but wonder what else we lose by reducing the diversity of our species.

    Anne

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I'm always interested in what people think and love having a debate so why don't we have a chat :-)

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