March 4, 2009
Designer Babies, Only in L.A. (for now)
Sources: MSNBC, now everywhere.
‘Build-A-Bear’ but with babies. A fertility clinic in Los Angeles is giving prospective parents a chance to mod their babies via genetic manipulation. The technique, called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), allows parents and doctors to screen out potential gene-borne diseases and other “defects,” but soon could be used to increase the chance of a baby to have certain “choice” attributes like height, hair color, and even IQ.
Such genetic screening has been around forever, but in a much more natural form (discovered by Charles Darwin). It was even discovered that you could “choose” the gender/sex of your offspring with a timing method. But with the mapping of the human genome and genetic screening, it is now possible to fine-tune the looks and abilities of your children.
Master race, anyone?
Gattica, here we come! Maybe. The idea of spawning a Frankenstein-baby may be scary or exciting, but it may not catch on due to some major problems to be worked out. First off, the PGD process does not guarantee success; It only increases the odds that a child will have selected traits. Secondly, they have to use in vitro fertilization which doesn’t always work. And at $18K US per attempt, you can only afford one attempt.
Then, you have to deal with all the “eugenics” issues that will inevitably arise. An assembly-line master race may not be possible just yet.
Of course, that can all change when the machines take over…