Imagine a world where parents scan through pods filled with different possibilities for their embryos. They design their child in the image of a Disney princess. Hair as dark as night, lips as red as blood, and skin as fair as snow. As we stand in the world today, we as humans have never been more technologically advanced or scientifically intelligent. We have the ability to explore outer space and the depths of the oceans. We are even in the process of developing organs using 3D printing technology.
However there is a limit to the extent of advancements that humankind can reach before some begin to pose dangers to humanity or become unethical such as designing babies.
Parents should not be genetically engineering and designing their babies for non-medical reason as it is considered a violation of human rights. Believed by many individuals, it is not natural for humans to intervene in the natures natural selection progress. In selecting the best gene for creating the perfect child, we are producing a generation of flawless robots.
Are we really willing to set out a generation whose flaws will soon be filtered? Any prospective parent unwilling to conceive naturally demonstrates a lack of maternal instinct that would love and cherish any offspring, regardless of its imperfections and flaws. Shannon Brownlee of the Washington Monthly states, Fertility specialists are already getting requests from prospective parents who want to know if they can be assured their embryos won’t turn out to be hyperactive or gay.
With this market demand driving the gears of this research, bioengineering will ultimately lead to a synthetic society, in which we no longer find beauty in imperfections, but in how much parents can spend on their designer. This promises a bleak future for the mankind.
During World War II, Adolf Hitler was determined to create a master race of people with white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. He believed people possessing these specific traits were superior over others, and that these superior humans should be the only people in existence. To put his beliefs into action, he enforced abolishment of those considered to be inferior humans, breeding of people who met his requirements, and scientific experimentation to change peoples outward appearances to his ideal. Are modern day designer babies any different? After all, they are created by following a certain criteria of what someone wants them to be. I believe that although there are situations in which this science is needed (such as serious medical conditions of the child the science is being performed on). However, when it comes to using this science to create your ideal child, its immoral and going against nature, and peoples good intentions can lead to bad circumstances. What is considered ideal is what is considered perfect anyways? Studies show people who are physically attractive are likely to earn more than those considered to have below- average looks. Does this mean ugliness is a disability that ought to be corrected by genetic engineering? Or, similarly, is having a below- average IQ a disability, something that should be subject to change through gene editing? If less attractive people are disadvantaged or people of low intelligence are belittled, we ought to question our standards and behaviour.
Many questions are also being raised regarding the safety of technology used. Is it safe to use? There are several safety concerns about the technology, all of which lie within the physical alteration of the gene. Genes are very specific and will only work correctly in certain ways. Although scientists may know a fair deal about genes, do they know about the consequences if their technology were to fail? One of the risks directly involved with their technology is the technique of introducing a gene at a random place in the genome. By doing this the gene could interrupt another sequence of genes that are vital for survival. It could also alter the effect that the gene has. The gene might have the effect wanted, such as an increased intellect, but it may also introduce an unwanted effect. This became apparent in 2001 when Joe Tsien genetically altered mice to have a high memory capacity. The mice were able to learn very quickly and were able to retain more information but at what cost? The mice also had an extremely high sensitivity to pain: something that a human being wouldnt be able to live with. Do you think thats fair? Would you be willing to sacrifice your quality of life for an enhanced learning capacity? I know I wouldnt. But what is more unfair is that the embryos, who are the ones who are going to be enhanced, dont have a choice in the matter.
In the future, we could have hundreds and thousands of exceptional musicians like Mozart, or scientist whose intelligence is equal to that of Albert Einstein but so what if they were all just artificially made? Will we be able to tell the difference between these so called Superhumans and artificial robots? I strongly believe everyone should be born naturally. Its how a community is formed, with ones strengths compensating for anothers weaknesses. It is through our different virtues and flaws that we learn to help and support each other grow.