You’re going to have a child, but you are unsure if your baby will have the diseases that have been passed down your family line for generations, and all you can do is wait. This is a scenario that many parents have to go through. But now, scientists have developed what are called “designer babies” to reduce any chances of a child receiving diseases. Scientists are able to create children outside of the female’s body to accomplish this. Because of what the process entails, it has its supporters and its opposers. People in affiliation with religion, especially the Roman Catholic Church, dislike the creation of designer babies. While on the other hand, many scientists and parents support the process. Although religious individuals dissent this idea because of the unethicality, designer babies are very important and are necessary as it has the potential to reduce the risk of diseases and can make a child more successful in life.
Like many scientific areas of study, the manipulation of genes on embryos is a controversy. On one side there are the Roman Catholics who are against the designer baby process. Roman Catholics are against the procedure because of the termination of embryos (Hanson). The embryos that look healthy are kept by the scientists while the unhealthy embryos are discarded (Haberman). This is a morally fraught practice to the Roman Catholics. On the supporting side are many parents and scientists. The advocates for designer babies support the process because of its benefits. Benefits include reducing the risks for contracting a disease and creating children with characteristics that can make them more successful. I believe that designer babies are beneficial and agree with the parents and the scientists because of these benefits.
Designer babies are important as they can reduce the chances of a child receiving an illness. Dissenters of the procedure will go against this and say it is unethical because of the unsafe fertilization of babies outside the female body and the action of discarding unhealthy embryos. But, the process is similar to In-vitro fertilization, a common fertilization operation that is completely safe. In-vitro requires the eggs to be fertilized outside of the woman’s body, just like designer babies. Furthermore, like designer babies, in-vitro was attacked for being deemed as unsafe and not necessary. But, “It turned out in the end that IVF is perfectly safe, and now it’s a common procedure… ” (Waldman). Designer babies, because of how similar it is to in-vitro, should be known as common and helpful. And with the embryos that are discarded, they are terminated at a very early stage that can have the baby considered not living yet. An embryo forms about eight weeks in and is not a fetus yet. With this said, genetic engineering on embryos could be used for common diseases that run down a family line like heart, neurological and mental illnesses. If a parent knew that they carried a gene to a disease and had access to the designer baby process, they could have scientists easily remove the gene linked to the disease. It could also be foreseen that the process could be adapted to treat lesser problems that are still bothersome. This can include problems like allergies and myopia. The child who has their genes edited for the better, will be living a happier and stress-free lifestyle. Designer babies are important as they are potentially a cure to diseases.
The designer baby process can also be beneficial to how successful a child can be in the future. Objectors from the Roman Catholic church will say that the parents should not play the role as GOD and let the child be who they are supposed to be. But, If the parent can potentially make the child’s life easier by providing greater strength or intelligence, why not take advantage of the system? For the kids that do get their genes manipulated with better characteristics, they will experience an improved living experience. For those who see it as disturbing to do this, Waldman says, “exactly what would be wrong with that? If you had a visceral reaction of opposition when you read that, ask yourself: Why? Try to articulate why it’s wrong to use genetic engineering to make a child smarter than they might be if we were just flipping the genetic coin.” Opposers might say that it is going against the child’s free will. But if a child was made to be, for example smarter, would they really want to resort to a lower intelligence level? Along with this, other characteristics like bad vision or small hands, are decisions not made by someone themself. Waldman explains that although characteristics like these are “natural,” it does not mean that they are a product of free will. So either way, whether the parents choose the child’s characteristics or not, the child has no choice. The parents might as well make the child more successful with traits they can benefit from. The designer baby process is just another product of an uncontrollable characteristic but is made to only keep the child happy and make them successful.
There are many objectors, especially the Roman Catholics, that are against it because of the termination of the unhealthy embryos, fertilization outside the human body, and the power to control a child’s traits. But although dissenters think this way, the designer baby will be living a better life because of its favorable traits and it will have no diseases in its genetic makeup. If parents had the chance and accessibility to give their child a better life, the designer baby approach would definitely suit their needs.
Haberman, Clyde. “Scientists Can Design ‘Better’ Babies. Should They?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 June 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/06/10/us/11retro-baby-genetics.html.
Hanson, Jack. “Designer Babies.” Weather Control Technology | Controlling the Weather, www.futureforall.org/bioengineering/designer-babies.html.
Waldman, Paul. “In Praise of Designer Babies.” The American Prospect, prospect.org/article/praise-designer-babies.