Are Designer Babies Ethical?

The promise

In a comdesigner_baby_3mentary published Thursday in the journal Genetics in Medicine, a group of bioethicists in Europe describes another scenario covered by the patent: prospective parents seeking egg and sperm donors with specific DNA variants to maximize their chance of having a child who will grow to a specific height, or develop the slow-twitch muscles that make someone a better endurance athlete…

The objection

Any such system would be “ethically and socially treacherous,” she said. “It could encourage the dangerous idea that science should be used to breed ‘better’ people, breathing new life into the specter of eugenics that has long hung over the field of genetics.”

Karen Kaplan in the LA Times.

Comments (14)

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  1. Connor says:

    “Selecting children in ways such as those patented by 23andMe is hugely ethically controversial,” the bioethicists wrote. (They did give the company credit for not offering “a cast-iron, fool-proof method guaranteeing that the eventual child will have all the phenotypic traits on the parents’ shopping list, an impossible task.”)

    How about being selective with the mother or father instead of having accidents?

  2. James says:

    “We believe the patent office made a serious mistake in allowing a patent that includes drop-down menus from which to choose a future child’s traits,”

    I wish to order a baby from Amazon.

  3. Lucas says:

    “In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual genes were products of nature, not inventions, and thus could not be patented by companies. The case involved Myriad Genetics, which co-developed a test that is used to see whether people have particular mutations in their DNA that are known to influence the risk of breast, ovarian and other cancers.”

    Exactly. This is why the patent will not be allowed, there is nothing artificial about the process, it is just moving around the natural genetics.

  4. Carter says:

    Could two black parents essentially create a blue eyed, blonde baby?

  5. Mark says:

    Not sure if it is ethical, but I would like to place an order for a Lebron James / Brittney Giner baby.

  6. Crawford says:

    I think its ethical. No harm, no foul