Written by Lilly Wright
According to a new scientific paper, “designer babies” could be created ethically in less than two years. Designer babies are babies born with genes that have been scientifically modified. These modifications can prevent someone from having a genetic disease, or change the physical features of a person. The idea has been introduced more recently by scientists but also in some movies, such as Gattaca (1997) and My Sister’s Keeper (2009).
In Gattaca, the movie explored what the future may look like, where everyone has a “designer baby” with genetic modifications to make them smarter, more athletic, and more physically appealing; whereas in My Sister’s Keeper, they genetically modified their daughters genes to save another daughter’s life. The older daughter was born with health problems and needed several transplants and transfusions that involved certain factors that only certain people had, so they had a baby and made sure that the newborn would have all of the factors needed to help out the older daughter.
There are a few designer babies out there in the world right now, but many consider them unethical and fear that in the future they could be used for non-life threatening purposes, such as hair color, height and other physical features. But Kevin Smith, a bioethicist at Abertay University in Scotland, says “Their creation is ethically justifiable and would offer hope to parents at risk of transmitting serious genetic disease to their offspring.”
What do you think about genetically modified babies? Are they ethical? Would you genetically modify your child to save them from a genetic disease?