Genetic Engineering - For Health Reasons.. and Good Looks?

Since the existence of males and females in our world, there have been babies.  Babies are the result of a male and a female who have gained a particular interest in each other’s traits, both physical and mental, and figure that combining them into one individual would create the optimal person in their eyes.  With this idea in mind, would parents really be worried about their unborn child enough to “design” them?  Parents would pursue the option to design their children only to take out the possibility of their children obtaining undesirable genes.  However, it is important for them to remember that they mated with their partners because the “desired” genes were available.  Therefore, what level of fear is there really, for the baby of two loving parents to end up having traits that are disliked?  It is true however, that a partner could have an inherited family disease or a lethal gene that would not want to be passed down to his or her child.  For this reason, Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) can be used to screen embryos for genetic diseases and only implant selected embryos back into the mother’s womb.  For the reason of possibly saving the life of an unborn child, genetic screening is a plus.

PGD or IVF technology was only used 50 times in 2009

Most people could gladly accept genetic engineering when it comes to health care, but when asked about engineering solely for good looks, a majority if not all, would disagree with the idea.  There is also a fear of creating an even larger gap between the rich and the not so luxurious in society since processes such as PGD or InVitro Fertilization (IVF) are available mainly to those who have big bucks.  The humans holding the most desirable qualities would then begin to appear only in the higher-ups and issues in the society could arise.  What this also says is that millions of people who do have various health issues or do not visually look up to par are regarded as lesser.  Certainly, no one would want this idea to be floating around.  The most common ethical issues that are debated involve ideas of “playing the role of God” and how it is simply not up to us.  However, I believe that parents should have the reproductive freedom to decide upon what they want to do with their embryos. 
At the moment, scientists are only able to manufacture qualities such as eye and hair colours and so worries about a super human race belonging to the rich can be forfeit.  I’d only be worried about doubled IQs, or something like Schwarzenegger babies - qualities that would cause imbalances in our society.  It is also important to note that many genes have more than one effect.  For example, some rat experiments resulted in improved learning and memory powers, but also a greater sensitivity to pain.  For this reason, the above qualities are very unlikely even for the future, and so genetically engineering for cosmetic reasons really doesn’t pose a large issue at all.

In my opinion, even if God-like abilities such as determining the outcome of a child are presented to parents, I would expect them to use it only in urgent, health-related situations rather than for cosmetic reasons.

Works Cited

:. "CTV British Columbia - Screening could create 'designer babies' - CTV News." CTV British Columbia | Home - Breaking News, BC News, Vancouver, B.C., Sports, Entertainment, Traffic, Weather, Contests. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2010. <>.
"Designer Babies - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2010. <,9171,989987,00.html
"Designer Babies: A Right to Choose? | Wired Science |" . N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2010. <
"Designer Babies: Ethical Considerations (ActionBioscience)." ActionBioscience - promoting bioscience literacy. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2010. <
Lee, Ellie. "Debating 'designer babies'." PCF - Pro-Choice Forum homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2010. <
"What is a designer baby?." Bionet - New discoveries in life sciences - Explore the science and debate the issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2010. <

3 Response to "Genetic Engineering - For Health Reasons.. and Good Looks?"

  1. Puji Wibowo Says:

    I think you did a great job explaining the advantages and disadvantages of genetic altering. I completely agree that genetic altering is fine if used for health care reasons, but if used just for looks then I completely disagree and the people that choose it just for looks have just thrown away every ounce of humanity that they have.

  2. marychiu. Says:

    Wow Derek, huge improvement from your last blog entry!!! However, I still don't particularly agree with you. In the last paragraph, you stated that designer babies wouldn't pose as much of a threat because parents would only use genetic modification in urgent, health-related issues. Really, Derek?! You don't think that the idea of creating an ideal baby -- one that completely fits under your standards of perfection -- is going to appeal to parents? Especially now that plastic surgery is at large, I think there are definitely parents who would choose to use genetic modification for cosmetic reasons. In a society where the significance of physical appearance has reached (and continues to grow to) such a ridiculous extent, it's inevitable for parents to want their children to be accepted, not to mention praised for being superior to other children. At the same time, is this right? Should people be using technology for such frivolous and unnecessary reasons? Ultimately, it's up to the parents to decide. Just as plastic surgery is an open option to all members of society, I think the use of genetic modification for cosmetic purposes should be a choice too. Some people see alterations to physical appearances as blasphemous while others think of it as the norm. Nonetheless, it's up to one's own sense of moral consciousness to decide whether or not they would choose to adjust the appearance of their children.

  3. Justinli'sBioBlog Says:

    I think that You did a great job explaining what genetic altering. I think that you have explained the avantage and disavantage of altering the genes clearly. I agree with you when you said that it was only used for curing mental disease. I also think that choosing your child genes are wrong because it could hurt them and they might have to do plastic surgery to change how they will look. I think you did a great job and i hope to read your next blog soon.

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