The Inevitable Rise of Designer Babies

Technological advancements in the past centuries have steadily improved the efficiency of the human race. But this one is unlike any humanity has seen before. Humans have genetically modified animals before, plants even. But genetically modifying humans, unborn babies at that, how does that happen, and where do morals draw the line? 

Designer babies might work like this:  Parents of the child get to choose from different embryo choices to apply to their baby; maybe that their child is more likely to have green eyes, less likely to have a disease, etc.  For now, genetic editing is not as simple. Initially, designer babies made the childfree from disease or health-related problems. As the development of designer babies progressed, it brought forth the conception of genetically choosing cosmetic features for your child. One of the earliest cases of embryo selection separate to health was in 1996. The Collins couple desired a girl as their child, already having two sons. This led to the decision to visit the doctors at the Genetics & IVF Institute in Fairfax, Virginia. They were one of the first people to select embryos that did not address a medical condition. The Collins couple successfully chose the gender of their child (very publicly), prompting an arise of concerns revolving around choosing cosmetic aspects of your child. Embryos are the earliest stage of an egg while it is in the mother. Choosing and altering embryos is such a complex process. CRISPR is a technology that can edit and modify genes to prevent a disease from genetics. Cas9 is an enzyme that can act as scissors, splitting two strands to allow DNA to be added or removed. Together, CRISPR-Cas9 allows genes to be added, modified, or removed.

The ethics of designer babies is a debate among scientists and among people.  If designer babies became easily accessible, our society would devolve into one of a definite separation of class. The rich could afford designer babies, and the poor would not have that access, leading to an uneven playing field, more so than there already is right now. The enhanced against the unenhanced would tear our world into dystopia. Yet, a world rid of hereditary disease would protect countless lives and countless people’s health. Some scientists present the argument of reducing genetic disease and how truly innovative and revolutionary choosing features of your baby is and could be.  Most people refute this, arguing that it is morally wrong and finding offense in the process. 

Designer babies are the inevitable future. Science and technology have advanced us to the point of altering human genetics, and over the next few decades, all the human race can do is watch and see how it’s going to play out. Designer babies could be a step in the direction of utopia or a step in the direction of dystopia. Nonetheless, the complex science behind designer babies is a prideful example of how far our science has advanced, and yet it’s still improving.