Bioethics News

Designer children – Searching for the perfect child

Designer children . In our opinion these technologies encourage to consider children as a product that can be selected or rejected.

A recently published article in Fertility and Sterility (103; 342-343, 2015) from February this year reflects on the production of designer children and the medical, social and ethical problems (especially the latter) that this practice could entail.
The article begins by referring to Aldous Huxley’s book, “Brave New World”, in which the author speculates about how a world would be in which children were created by technological rather than natural means.

There have undoubtedly been many technical developments since Huxley’s time, so what he described could in actual fact fall shortof the biotechnological reality promoted by transhumanism, posthumanism and the hypothetical production of cyborgs. In relation to this, Lee Silver of Princeton University speculates about what the future could be for a society in which children are not conceived naturally, which, in his opinion, could be beneficial, since he thinks that natural conception is too risky. In this regard, Silver has patented technological methods that use the parents’ DNA to predict disease risk in their children. The ultimate goal of these techniques would be to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis to reduce, or even eliminate, the genetic risks that, in his view, implicitly accompany natural reproduction.

According to Melo-Martin and Rosenwaks of the Division of Medical Ethics Unit at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, these techniques undoubtedly have problems that they summarise in four points:

  1. Knowledge of our genome is still very limited.Moreover, many diseases are the result of interactions between our genes and the environment, as well as epigenetic factors.At present, the technology that Silver proposes can only detect the risk of monogenic diseases (the result of a single defective gene), and not complex genetic alterations or alterations due to the interaction between genome and environment.i.e.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.