Genetic engineering of babies
Discuss the Genetic engineering of babies
Genetic Engineering of Babies
Genetic engineering of babies is achieved by introducing a desired genetic material into the embryo itself or the sperms and egg cells of a parent. However, this process faced widespread criticism as some people have used the technology for cosmetic means and enhancement of human traits (Teriyapirom, Batista-Rocha, and Koo 2021). The essays discuss the issues brought about by genetically engineering babies
Gene editing of the human embryo has enabled the discovery of new treatments by using gene-edited embryonic stem cell lines that protect against diseases and help understand the origin of the disease; this has made disease treatment cheap (Blau and Daley, 2019). Genetic engineering of babies also allows parents to decide their children’s eye color, gender, and body height before birth. This technology has also given hope to parents with the risk of transmitting a serious genetic disease to their offspring.
Ethical Issues with Genetic Engineering of Babies
Genetic engineering of babies has faced criticism from different quarters of the world as it is regarded as unsafe. Off-target genes could lead to strange and harsh characteristics for the child. This technique is prone to mistakes when editing embryos; just like any other medical procedure, it is not 100% accurate. Some people will get the short end of the stick and get unwanted genetic properties.
Genetic engineering of babies is not consensual as the embryo cannot consent to any procedure (Zalot and Pacholczyk 2017). Parents get to build who they want, limiting the child’s freedom and their opinion and might grow to dislike the traits they have acquired.
Genetic engineering of babies is seen as unfair by many. For instance, it has introduced modified humans who are perfect, which is unfair to the less fortunate who cannot afford the procedure. These designed babies will be better than everyone else in education, extra curriculum activities, and creativity; they will have more opportunities in every field, contributing to inequality in society.
The Scientific Argument for the Ethical Issues
To solve the consensual ethical dilemma, scientists argue that babies’ genetic engineering is for the baby’s good as scientists can prevent genetic diseases from being transmitted from the parent to the embryo. The law also states that for people below eighteen years, parents can consent on their behalf. This makes the baby’s rights limited hence, if people accepted the idea, it would be of the greater good thus removing the dilemma.
A counter-argument to the fairness of designing babies is that it would benefit everyone as human beings could be more innovative and help address some world problems, thus benefiting normal people as they would live in a better world. The returns of innovation most often are positive.
The dilemma on safety is argued that innovation would get better each day, reducing the risks associated with a baby acquiring an unwanted variant gene. With improved technology, scientists would be able to improve the procedure’s safety; however, even the most common medical procedures are not 100% accurate, and this should not be different with genetic editing.
Genetic engineering of babies provides more benefits and will greatly help humans to deal with genetic diseases. In my view, the ability to improve the human race is for the benefit of everyone. Changing an unborn baby’s genetic properties to treat a serious disease that the baby would have suffered at birth is an appropriate use of the technology. Besides, any parent would do anything to see their child is healthy (Lavazza 2019). People are free to choose if to give birth or not. If the expected embryo’s generic properties influence the decision, then parents should be free to select the child’s characteristics.
Cultural and Religious Argument to Genetic Engineering of Babies
The inheritable genetic modification would lead to people and children being treated as objects and not as gifts from God. Christianity views children as blessings from God. Genetic engineering of babies has given parents too much control over the child’s characteristics. Parents and scientists are accused of playing God by designing children to fulfill their desires, hence believing that nature will retaliate and punish humanity for that.
Genetic engineering of babies violates the uniqueness of a designed baby. According to culture, everyone is unique, and uniqueness is regarded as a source of independence. In babies’ genetic engineering, two individuals have the same genotype, hence exhibit the same phenotypic characters. Scientists argue that people develop their sense of uniqueness from experiences, interests, and abilities; thus most unlikely for a genetically engineered child to measure their sense of self using genetic uniqueness.
Parent’s high expectations of the designed baby will make the baby not explore their God-given talent. Every person has a talent that they need to develop according to the cultural context. A parent who desires to have a child with a musical prodigy’s genes will steer the child towards a music career instead of the child exploring their natural talent and abilities.
Blau, H.M. and Daley, G.Q., 2019. Stem cells in the treatment of disease: New England Journal of Medicine, 380(18), pp.1748-1760.
Lavazza, A., 2019. Parental selective reproduction: genome-editing and maternal behavior as a potential concern. Frontiers in genetics, 10, p.532.
Teriyapirom, I., Batista-Rocha, A.S. and Koo, B.K., 2021. Genetic engineering in organoids. Journal of Molecular Medicine, pp.1-14.
Zalot, J. and Pacholczyk, T., 2017. The Ethical Challenges of Gene Editing. Ethics & Medics, 42(12), pp.3-4.