Right or wrong: Genetically engineered children

Geneticists have been on the verge for some time now, through genetic modifications, of being able to choose the physical characteristics of their children.  Want a baby with sandy blond hair, blue eyes, six feet tall?  Soon this will be a real option.  Now firm in China claim they can even modify characteristics that will affect a child’s IQ.

We are living in an age where technology is almost obsolete by the time it hits the open market.  With amazing speed and ingenuity, the things that can be done in a laboratory are absolutely staggering, and that’s just the stuff made public!

How do you feel about the prospects of being able to modify your child’s genes for cosmetic enhancement? What about modifications for something less vain than personal appearance, like IQ, or maybe athleticism or resistance to certain cancers or disease?

Would the reason for the modification make a difference?  Is this ethical regardless of the reason?

If the cost of the process were of no consequence, and the health and safety of the child and mother were not compromised, would you ‘engineer’ your child?


  1. No, I wouldn’t.

  2. I have been scanning Craigslist for jobs that I can do at home or while my kids are at school. And it’s amazing to me the ads for egg donors. “Looking for tall Asians”, or college-educated Caucasian women.” This is a marketplace people. Parenting has become consumerism.

    • Askme

      Ive heard some women sell their eggs and get good money for it. But is it ethical?

      • Heavens! Only if children serve the purpose of adults. Ridiculous. There’s no right to parenthood. But every child has a right to a mother and father. Our adult-centered culture completely flips the goal of marriage and family on its head. Not to mention, there have been several studies published recently about the horrific effects on egg harvesting on those women who subject themselves to it.

        • One thing that really makes my skin crawl in a conversation is when someone says “I deserve…”.

          We have become a society That is all about itself. And this designer child think is bad news. Think about parents who spend thousands for the “perfect” child only to be disappointed. What then? Do they resent the child? Put them up for adoption? And why, because they didnt get their way.

          • It reminds me of the recent lawsuit of a family who sued because authorities fail to diagnose the child with a debilitating condition. Had they known, clearly they would have aborted the child. Parenting no matter how you come about your child, be it by biological or adoption, is inherently risky. Because it is not about you people! It is about every child everywhere deserving parents of their own. Don’t get into parenting unless you are prepared for difficulties.

  3. This might be “the cure” for cancer. So noble an endeavor, I can imagine a government making it mandatory.

    I’d be afraid of unforeseen and unintended consequences. Maybe it would make everyone really mean. Maybe it would make reproduction harder.

    Some disease resistant plants lose other important attributes.

    I say no thank you!

  4. vincedeporter says:

    Good question… I don’t know, really.
    The medical benefits seem amazing to me, but where do we draw the line?
    Again, I don’t have an answer at this point.
    Food for thought…

  5. The idea of creating Designer Babies seems immoral to me, in spite of the medical benefits. Yes, it would be wonderful to ensure no child suffers with some horrible disease. But I hold out hope for cures. This post alone proves how utterly astounding medical technology is these days. Can cures be THAT far off?

  6. If a fetus can be genetically engineered to not have a particular disease, like cancer, why isn’t there already a cure? Or is that question just betraying my ignorance?

  7. Everyone has cancer-prone cells throughout their bodies, but a healthy immune system is able to identify and eliminate these cells before they turn into life threatening tumors. But if the immune system is weakened or some environmental factor enters the equation (e.g., smoking), these cells can activate and grow into life-threatening tumors. So, theoretically, it seems there isn’t anyway to turn these cells “off” since their not really “turned on” to begin with in healthy bodies. They may be able to reduce one’s risk by identifying cancer-carrying genes but I’m not sure this has been done succesfully as of yet.

    Sickle Cell Anemia is a bit different. In theory, shutting off the protein BCL11A restores production of fetal hemoglobin and reverses the disease. This method wouldn’t just prevent the disease in unborn children, but actually cure the disease in adults. I’m not sure it’s been tried on humans, but it’s been tried and proven successful on adult mice.

  8. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that the folks on the left will by and large love this idea as one more path to a progressive utopia.

    UNTIL, someone suggests that they might want to genetically engineer out the elusive “gay gene”. At which point this will become evil.

    Of course one could argue that we already see parents genetically engineer children by choosing who to procreate with or as has been pointed out by choosing donors that meet certain criteria.

Any Thoughts?

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