Designer clothes, handbags, accessories are rage in the market where everyone wants something unique and elegant for themselves, meant specifically for them. But have you heard about designer babies??
Yes, you read it right “designer babies” are not anything far-fetched now. With advancing technology selecting, rejecting and editing the genes of your baby is possible.
A designer baby as the name suggests, is one whose genetic design is altered or modified to include or exclude the particular genes according to the requirement. This concept evolved with the advancement of technology, with which the humans are now enabled to lay hands on the natural procedure of birth. The first pair of genetically modified or designer babies was developed by the Chinese Scientist He Jiankui.
The Lulu and Nana controversy
The Lulu and Nana controversy refers to the two Chinese twin girls born in November 2018, who had been genetically modified as embryos by the Chinese scientist He Jiankui. The twins are believed to be the first genetically modified babies. The girls’ parents had participated in a clinical project run by He, which involved IVF, PGD and genome editing procedures in an attempt to edit the genes, He claimed that the process would confer innate resistance to HIV.
The technology to create designer babies can be argued to have quite a lot of benefits. Every parent wants their offspring to be healthy and having all good features. Thus with the use of genetic modification parents will have a free hand in choosing the best features and disregard the undesirable genes. On the same hand, this technique can be useful in elimination of many life threatening diseases which are genetic in nature and passed on from one generation to another like HIV etc.
Every coin has two faces, similarly the use of science to create designer babies too have some negative aspects:
First of all, this can lead to gender determination which can be dangerous and may lead to elimination of female child in a male patriarchal society where male child is always favoured. There is high probability that, in a race to choose best features, parents might end up creating similar looking or homogeneous generations of children. And hence wiping out the characteristic of uniqueness among humans.
These high-tech methodologies are not accessible to all, hence this may lead to discrimination and making these professions only profit making business. The medical effects of these technologies are yet unknown. So, we have to be cautious while using them.
It is highly recommended that if future lies in such technology then there has to be laws to curb the negative impacts, gene editing should be limited to the process to eliminating diseases and not otherwise.