Designer Babies — One Clinic Says the Future is Here & Now
March 03, 2009 2:52 PM
One of the interesting things about the uproar over designer babies…over picking eye color and hair color…is that in one sense it’s already happening. When couples enter into financial agreements forthey are often presented with options — would you prefer if your donor has a certain height, eye color, educational background — the hope being that a certain trait will be handed down.
The latest wrinkle to all this involves a fertility clinic in New York and Los Angeles that says in the next 6 months they will be able to offer prospective parents the chance to pick eye and hair color of their infant. Now, the disclaimer is that it’s not 100 percent, they are promising to greatly increase the odds of achieving your wants. But nonetheless the pitch is sparking controversy.
Ethicists have been quick to chime in with a warning: First eye color then what? Will we be modifying intelligence? What if you don’t get the mix of smarts and looks that you wanted? It’s all a slippery slope.
Dr. Jeff Steinberg heads the clinic that is making the latest promise. “Genetic health is the wave of the future”, he told the New York Daily News which broke the story this morning. “It’s already happening and it’s not going to go away.”
We have reached out to several geneticists and fertility experts today to ask the simple question: Possible?
There was some difference in opinions, but generally it seems it is conceivable that the clinic can do what it’s promising. No one knows for sure what this doctor has worked up. That would require peer reviewable research. But it seems that – in general – the understanding of genes has advanced to the point where yes, it is possible that a doctor is on the verge of achieving this.
Whatever the state of the science is today, it seems that society needs to work out – right now – where we stand on this. Laws need to updated to reflect the reality. The future is closer than many think.
“FERTILITY DOCTOR WILL LET PARENTS BUILD OWN BABY”: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=6998135&page=1
Yes, brave new world exactly, as this ABC News report indicates.
Parents playing God?
Would there be a sub-population of so-called Perfect people? And what would constitute them as being perfect? Would we have a population designated and marginalized to perpetual servitude because they have features different from the dominant group? (As if this has not already happened in America already.) Because as anyone who knows their science fiction —-in the future, Black people will no longer exist.
Except in the novels of the late, great Octavia Butler.
It has been a while since I have read “Brave New World”:
Not to mention George Orwells’ “1984”:
And it would not hurt to re-visit the following movies, “Gattaca” (which is an acronym on the building blocks of molecular biology/DNA of the four nucleic acids —-[adenosine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine=gattaca], the genetic code which is written using four “letters”, G,A, T, and C, each of which represents a molecule known as a nulceotide), and “A.I.”, that also spoke of a brave new world of perfect people where that which is imperfect (Black people, native peoples—anyone outside the so-called norm), were no where to be found in the future:
A.I. – Artificial Intelligence (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) ~ Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor, and Sam Robards (DVD – Mar 5, 2002)
Gattaca (Special Edition) ~ Xander Berkeley, Ernest Borgnine, Jayne Brook, and Loren Dean (DVD – Mar 11, 2008)
Time to re-read these classics, as well as view again those movies, and prepare for the future.
The future is upon us, more than many of us wish to accept.