What are your thoughts on designer babies?
Designer babies are babies that are genetically chosen by the parents. Basically, you, as the parent can choose eye color, hair color, build, etc. Geneticists can argue that this is exceptional advancements because now we can genetically alter children who will be born with deformities or other conditions. However, designer babies have evolved from this thought process.
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I am very uncomfortable with the idea of designer babies. However, it may be that much of my discomfort is based on gut instinct rather than on a more rational basis.
My gut tells me that it is wrong to create designer babies. This seems too much like “playing God.” It seems to me, on the gut level, that it is wrong for us to be able to choose what sorts of traits our children will have. It seems like doing this robs us of much of the randomness that makes us human. It seems that making babies to order would take away the mystery of what sort of baby we were going to have and the joy of discovering what the baby will be like.
It also seems to me that designer babies are a symptom of our overall sense of entitlement. We are so rich in this country that we think we should have everything just the way we want it. This has already extended to our own looks (plastic surgery) and now seems to be extending to our offspring as well as we start to try to buy exactly the sorts of children that we want to have.
From a more rational point of view, I have two real arguments against designer babies. One is that they will give an even greater advantage to the rich. The rich will be the ones who will be able to buy “perfect” babies. They will be able to buy excellence in any area they choose. Their babies will always be able to outcompete others in those areas. This seems wrong. Second, their children will have less of a chance to choose what they want to be. Their parents will already have chosen what they will be good at. This seems unfair to the children.
For these reasons, I am not at all comfortable with the idea of buying designer babies.
I'm all for the use of designer babies as a way to combat genetic diseases or deformities. If something like Down syndrome can be prevented, or the likelihood of diabetes be decreased, then I think designer babies would be a positive to society. They would lower the distress and cost that parents and the child would have to deal with throughout their lives dealing with whatever they have to deal with.
With that being said, I'm not sure I'm for designer babies just for the sake of parents being able to essentially "choose" their child. For one, I think this makes parents superficial. They'd try to get babies who had a certain hair color, or were a certain height, and focus on physical appearances rather than personality, which is something that you can't really instill in a baby. And who is to say what's better than what? Is black hair better than brown, is being tall better than medium height, etc.? I just think being able to select a baby's physical appearance makes one shallow and doesn't set a good example.
Also, designer babies would only help those who could afford it, meaning the rich. I feel like this would promote class warfare, as wealthier people would be the ones who had the better looking, more athletic, healthier children. Designer babies don't help everyone, but just those with the money. It would just cause a strain or envy in society.
As well, I'm not sure I like the idea of essentially "tampering" with a baby before s/he is born. It seems like designer babies are seen as objects, kind of like picking a teddy bear from the toy store. The baby has no say in how s/he will look or be like, and I think it causes a limitation to diversity and growth. It comes off to me dehumanizing someone if they knew they were "designed" before birth.
While designer babies is an interesting concept, I think they should be avoided if possible. I'm glad it can prevent diseases, but aside from that, I find it unnecessary.
The idea of designer babies makes me uncomfortable because it just seems so odd. I think it's great that the genetically engineered baby could have less risk of disease, but I don't agree with the genetic manipulation of eye color, height or anything that has to do with physical traits or characteristics. I think that should be left to nature.