Designer Babies

In the last few years, scientists have invented different methods for fertility, such as medicines, donors, In Vitro Fertilization, and many others. Methods like these are for men and women who are infertile. In Margaret Atwood’s novel Oryx and Crake, Crake has figured out a way to keep a lot of things away from the Crakers, like where they came from and why they are different from snowman. Science technology is growing every day in Crake’s “Paradice” lab. In today’s world scientists are discovering a way to create a parent’s “dream come true” in labs, in many different countries.

Though readers may think that a designer baby is purely fiction, it is actually not so far off from our reality. Many people do not have a clue what a designer baby is, what features they can have, or how the process works. A designer baby is formed in a lab, starting in a test tube. The babies are created to lower the risk of a disease or disorder. When going into a fertility clinic to design a baby, start with the gender, hair color, eye color and then decide the variations (Steere). “Bring your partner, grab a seat, pick up your baby catalog and start choosing” (Steere).

Everyone’s DNA is different, carrying features from mom, dad, and grandparents, which are what makes the foundation of a person. Working with science, implanting genes, and giving parents their “dream child” can be more difficult and turn into controversy like Atwood says in her novel. While merging chemicals, something good can instantly turn bad. A gene that scientists are using for designer babies is called NR2B which is for intelligence. On the other hand NR2B can be affected with the body not being able to fight off illnesses or heal itself (“Genetics”).

Also, the screening method was started so doctors could tell on the ultra sound if the baby would have a defect and the parents could choose what they wanted to do, but not every test can be true. It may take several more years to get the screening correct, but until then parents with these “babies” will need to make their decision or it could turn out to be a nightmare. The human genome project helped make designer babies become more possible in recent years. The modifying changes of diseases have grown tremendously after The Human Genome Project was completed in 2003 (Green).

Two couples in Britain chose the designer babies path because they didn’t want breast cancer to continue growing in their families. Many people question gender selection with designer babies, the world becoming over populated with one gender in the next few years. “According to data released in 2004 from the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 1,050 boys are born for every 1,000 girls”(“Choosing”). Fertility clinics are now making requirements if you are thinking about using a method to create a baby.

“Most fertility clinics that provide PGD do not allow it to be used solely for sex selection. You must have a medical reason such as a family history of genetic diseases or repeat miscarriages, or be over a certain age, usually about 38, to qualify for the procedure” (“Choosing”). Designer babies will help with prevention of diseases in the future. Scientist have found a way to get rid of the diseases when using In-Vitro Fertilization, “When the resulting embryo is just a few hours old, the nuclear DNA, or genes, from the sperm and egg are removed, leaving the healthy mitochondria behind” (Macrae).

Many people use the designer babies’ method because they have a disease they don’t want to pass down to their child or they have had four or five miscarriages without reasoning. There are people all around the world with fertility problems and this is their only option. Sharon Bernardi has had six children pass away with mitochondrial disease, her oldest, living child is 20 and has to have medical care all hours of the day, and is in a wheelchair (Macrae). Designer babies are a huge topic which people talk about daily. In March 2009, Dr.

Steinberg said there would be a 100 percent chance gender and an 80 percent chance of eye color in the year 2010. The designer babies have more research and time put in them, and now people are able to choose hair color and freckles (CBS). Questions about designer babies such as what if diseases aren’t caught in time and parents have already paid money for these babies. Another question what happens if parents add an intelligence gene and they fail. Children learn from what their parents do on a daily basis, no matter what genes are added.

Doctors’ have a list of diseases screened for designer babies, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. Playing God is building a designer baby. God puts a child in parents’ life and to deal with struggles, because God has a plan. There have been many books and movies on designer babies, how dangerous they are, and unethical, some parents value the life of a child the same whether it’s the way God intended them to look or for a child to still be a part of their family. God intends life not death.

Personality traits haven’t been able to be altered in the embryo yet, but once a child reaches a certain age they can take medicine to calm them down. Throughout life a person’s moods and personalities change without thinking. Doctors also use psychiatrist, family doctors, and other things to change personality. As a psychopathologist I am all in favor of using drugs in combination with psychotherapy to relieve the suffering that accompanies diagnosable mental disorders, such as depression, Bipolar Disorder, bulimia, PTSD, or OCD.

But every drug has a side effect, that’s why professionals are in favor of limiting drug use to disorders that cause dysfunction or severe distress (Carson). In Atwood’s novel, Crake creates the Craker’s. Scientists in today’s world haven’t come up with a medicine to make humans completely infertile, but there are medicines to stop pregnancy such as birth control pills, IUD, a vaginal ring, male and female condoms, a patch, and emergency plan B. Another way to be sterile would be to have a hysterectomy or a vasectomy (Health). Many over the counter medicines, and prescriptions have to have labels on them due to allergic reactions.

Crake explains the world is overpopulated and tries to start fresh with the Crakers only, and they have a mating season, once every three years (Atwood 166). Many people think the designer baby is fiction, but scientists are moving closer and closer to make them real. Works Cited Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake. New York: Anchor Books, 2003 Carson, Shelley H. “Life as Art. ” “Designer” Personalities? 2 July 2008. Web. 28 October 2012. “Choosing Your Baby’s Sex: What the Scientists Say. ” BabyCenter. Baby Center, L. L. C. , 1997- 2012. Web. 28 October 2012.

“Genetics and Designer Babies. ” Genetics and Designer Babies. Web. 28 October 2012. Green, Ronald M. “Building Babies From The Genes Up. ” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2008. Web. 28 October 2012 Macrae, Fiona. “Dawn of the Designer Babies with THREE Parents and No Hereditary Diseases. ” Mail Online. 15 Apr. 2010. Web. 28 October 2012 News, CBS. “”Designer Babies” Ethical? ” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 24 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 October. 2012. Steere, Mike. “CNN: Designer Babies Creating the Perfect Child. ” CNN. Cable News Network, 30 Oct. 2008. Web. 28 Oct. 2012.

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