Grace to change their babies gender or any

Grace LeiteMs. MizakSCP English 212 January 2018The Ethical Dilemma of Designer BabiesGenetic engineering has been around for thousands of years. At first it was just organisms, but in the last few hundred years has grown into food. Humans genetically modify everything from corn to canola oil, to even animals. Scientists can modify goats to produce silk in their milk, and get rid of allergens that people are sensitive too in cow’s milk (Lewis). But in the mid 1900’s, scientists started to question, can we genetically modify humans? In 1978, the first “test tube baby” was born. This sparked many ideas for scientists, and in 2017, the first baby was genetically modified. This was lead by a group of scientists in Portland, Oregon, who changed the DNA with CRISPR, a gene-editing technique (Connor). Now, humans can only imagine what we’ll be able to do: from editing eye color to ridding diseases, the possibilities are endless. In someways, these so called “designer babies” are not ethical because the parents shouldn’t get to change their babies gender or any trait or cosmetics. Furthermore this “procedure” can create a division in social classes between children that are designer and children that are “natural”. But there is also a plus side; scientists can rid diseases that are heritable in the child’s genes, so they can have a better quality of life.Parents of unborn children should not be able to design their own child like a video game. It is unfair to change their gender, traits, or cosmetics because the baby has no say in the matter.  In a Ted Talk by Paul Knoepfler, a professor at the department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, gives us an example on how the parents can be hurting their child rather than “helping” them in this situation, he notes “Some people might wish they were taller, have a different weight, a different face. If we could do those things, we could make those things happen, or we could make them happen in our children, it would be very seductive. And yet coming with it would be these risks. I talked about eugenics, but there would be risks to individuals as well.” (Knoepfler) Having a perfect child seems tempting enough, but we don’t know if the child will even like there “designed” self. Parents should really think first before changing their child for the “better”. In a Tufts Now article by Sheldon Krimsky, he brings up ethical answers for people who have a “specific look” that they want their child to have. He says “Even for height, one of the most heritable traits known, scientists have discovered at least 50 genes that can account for 2 to 3 percent of the variance in the samples. There could be hundreds of genes associated with height. If you want a tall child, then marry tall.” (Krimsky) If a parent has the perfect child in mind, athletic, tall, good looks, you just have to marry someone with those traits. There is no need to have to undergo so much treatment to have a perfect child if you just have good genetics on your side, there is no guarantee for the treatment, so you might not even get what you want in the first place.. In an article by The Washington Post, Vivek Whadwa talks about CRISPR, a gene editing technique. He states “”CRISPR’s potential for misuse by changing inherited human traits has prompted some genetic researchers to call for a global moratorium on using the technique to modify human embryos. Such use is a criminal offense in 29 countries, and the United States bans the use of federal funds to modify embryos.” (Whadwa) This procedure is something that can be and will be heavily misused, and other countries understand that. Its not illegal in the U.S, but there is a ban on using federal funds to support this, which means it can still be abused by parents and others. Overall, parents shouldn’t be able to use this new form of technology because of the many problems and concerns that it will cause in the future. People who can’t afford, or simply just don’t want designer babies, will be separated from “designer” kids for being less than. In his Ted Talk, Knoepfler gives an in depth example of what like will be like in the future. He says “You have your daughter, Marianne, next to you, and in 2030, she is what we call a natural because she has no genetic modifications…. Marianne’s best friend Jenna, who lives right next door, is a very different story. She was born a genetically modified designer baby with numerous upgrades… She’s incredibly intelligent. If you’re honest with yourself, she’s smarter than you, and she’s five years old. She’s beautiful, tall, athletic, and the list goes on and on.” Knoepfler goes on to say how the two girls get separated because ones genetically modified and the other ones not, and how it effects the “normal” one.(Knoepfler). People can see how children can be affected by this if they are not “designer”, because other children can be seen as better. These other children have an advantage because they’re already “better”, meaning their already more active and smart than others. In Rahul Thadini’s article, he further shows what affect it will have on us when he says “Families that can afford these alterations will be few, and this will only increase the disparity between the various social classes” (Thadani). Society already has a big dispute between the rich and the poor, especially within kids. Families with less money already have an disadvantage in this situation, they are immediately less than “Designer” kids. The kids will probably have an unfair disadvantage in sports and school because there not “altered” like the others. Krimsky, when talking about one of the dangers of this procedure, says, “The greatest danger of a belief in genetic engineering lies in its likely social impact. Eugenics will inevitably be used by those with wealth and power to make others believe that prenatal genetic modification makes people better. This would be as much a myth as believing that the sperm from Nobel Laureates will produce a genius child” (Krimsky). This danger is a big factor in how designer babies will eventually end up. The social aspect of this is a big element of how people will decide on if they want natural or modified children. The social impact this will eventually cause is huge. This will split social classes more than ever, and will have people feel less about themselves and their children.Although this procedure has many problems, it can raise the quality of life for a child by eliminating diseases that may be hereditary in their life. Vivek Wadhwa writes about how this can help a family and says “In the short term, scientists are planning clinical trials to use CRISPR to edit human genes linked to cystic fibrosis and other fatal hereditary conditions. But supporters of synthetic biology talk up huge potential long-term benefits. We could, they claim, potentially edit genes and build new ones to eradicate all hereditary diseases. With genetic alterations, we might be able to withstand anthrax attacks or epidemics of pneumonic plague”. (Wadhwa). This is a huge upside to family’s who might not want to have kids because of diseases that run in the family. This is great for parents who have a high chance of passing down life altering diseases to their children. Pam Belluck, in her New York Times article, gives another plus to eliminating disease, noting “But about 10,000 medical conditions are linked to specific mutations, including Huntington’s disease, cancers caused by BRCA genes, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Repairing the responsible mutations in theory could eradicate these diseases from the so-called germline, the genetic material passed from one generation to the next. No future family members would inherit them.” (Belluck). Not only does it eliminate disease and make life better for the one person, but eliminates disease that could be passed on to future family. This procedure not only makes the one person quality of life increase, but the children they will have better lives because of that. Again, Belluck shows how not only does it eliminate disease, but can make you healthier in other ways. “For example, soon “we will know more and more about genes that can increase your muscle activity,” he said. The hormone EPO, which some athletes have been disciplined for taking, “is produced by a gene, so you could in theory engineer yourself to produce more EPO.” (Belluck). Besides eliminating diseases, the persons quality of life can be improved in other ways, like improving muscle activity. This, besides eliminating disease, can make the person healthier and more active. By eliminating disease, families, and families to come, are protected against disease that can end their life early on. This procedure can do amazing things to people who have hereditary diseases, and are scared their children will inherit it.Designer babies are in some ways ethical because scientists can rid of diseases that are heritable in the child’s genes, so they can have a better quality of life. But they are in someways not ethical because the parents shouldn’t get to change their babies gender or any trait or cosmetics. Also, this “procedure” can create a division in social classes between children that are designer, and children that are “natural”. This topic is so important because it is something that will happen soon, it’s something that will affect everyone, whether you choose to design your own baby or not. This procedure will cause way more problems than solutions, therefore this should be banned to protect the millions of people that will be effected. Works CitedBelluck, Pam. “Gene Editing for ‘Designer Babies’? Highly Unlikely, Scientists Say.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 Aug. 2017,, Steve. “First Human Embryos Edited in U.S., Using CRISPR.” MIT Technology    Review, MIT Technology Review, 29 Dec. 2017, , Sheldon. “Against Designer Babies.” Tufts Now, 26 Aug. 2013,, Tanya. “10 Times Scientists Genetically Modified Animals and Came up with Some Weird Results.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 17 Oct. 2015,, Noah. “It’s Time to Think about the Implications of Human Genetic Engineering.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2017. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,           Accessed 20 Dec. 2017. Originally published as “We Need to Talk About Genetic Engineering,” Commentary, 27 July 2017.Thadani, Rahul. “The Public Should Oppose Designer Baby Technology.” Designer Babies, edited by Clayton Farris Naff, Greenhaven Press, 2013. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context.          . Originally published as “Designer Babies Debate,” Ted Talks,, 20 Sept. 2011.”The Ethical Dilemma of Designer Babies.” Performance by Paul Knoepfler,, Vivek. “If you could ‘design’ your own child, would you?” Washington Post, 28 July 2017. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,