Thus known as a "designer baby. " This new gene tampering experimentation has raised many questions. The most important being, "is predetermining your child's genetic makeup unethical? I believe ethics plays a vital part when deciding how far is too far with genetic engineering. I do not believe it is unethical to use these technologies in certain cases, such as altering cells and DNA to reduce genetic diseases. Relying too heavily on the use of genetic engineering can violate the individual's free will. It can also strip the diversity in the genetic makeup of the human race. I support the use of genetic engineering, however, our government should limit the use to genetic modification to only curing genetic mutation, diseases, and other genetic defects.
But then, what do we as a society, consider a genetic defect? The textbook definition of a defect is, "falling below the norm in structure or in mental or physical function. " (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2014) Theoretically, a parent wants to alter her child's intelligence because she views being below average in intelligence is a genetic defect. If everyone were designed to be very intelligent, the human race as a whole would benefit with advancements in pretty much anything. Is that unethical?
Entertainment, transportation and medicine among a vast amount of other things could all be improved drastically if there were more people able to do these things. A world full of generally more capable people would be capable of doing so such more. Is that unethical? In my eyes, and many others would agree, it does not seem unethical to expand the talents of the human race overall. However, limiting genetic engineering to only fixing genetic faults can be interpreted differently in the eyes of the beholder. Every time we get a little closer to genetic tinkering to promote health -? that's exciting and scary," said Dry. Alan Cooperage, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "People are afraid it will turn into a disappoint brave new world. (Taverns, 2014). For example, if a blind couple wanted to have a child and genetically engineer the child to be blind like them, so that they can better communicate with the kid. Is this case unethical? To the majority of society, yes.
Looking at it from a political perspective, could this be a violation of the fetus' rights? Most parents would want the best for their child, so 'improving' them or 'making them better' makes sense. Which school they go to and which hobbies a child takes part in can be choices that a parent makes, which in turn hopefully makes the child's life better. Genetic engineering could be another choice for parents to make. Doing so, however, restricts children's autonomy, not only during their adolescent years, but also through their adulthood, potentially. Lets say novo parents wanted their child to be a famous pianist one day so they bestow it with musicality in its genes. The child grows up to hate music and wants to be an athlete, but settles for playing the piano because it's what the child was designed to do. " (Simmons, 2008). Is this a violation of the child's free will to do what it wants? Or could it be written off as just another thing the parents ecocide in the upbringing of their child to help them succeed in life? How would this choice differ from other governing choice your parent makes for you as a child?
After all, the embryo is a minor at that point and does not have full rights to its self according to the Family Law Reform Act of 1969. But passed the age of 18 or 21 a person is considered to have attained full age and, at that point, can make legal choices for themselves without parent consent. However, if a parent has decided a child's fate at birth, like altering their genes to be the perfect athlete or pianist, then is that taking away the hill's rights they earn when they reach full age? Choosing their school as a minor does not effect their choices in adulthood as severely as altering genes.
By adding gene makeup to the list of things a parent chooses for their child could it be moving towards a dictatorship parenting style? Might it not make children feel like property and be offending the rights that human has as an individual free to choose and do as they please? Believe that by controlling that much of a person's life choice limits the freedom of expression to a minimal level for them once the reach full age. Is it moral for an engineer to "play God" in the eyes of some and determine which genes will be passed on to the next generation?
From a religious point of view, the main argument that the diverse and large community of Christians brought up was, "the misuse of designer babies would take away the natural God given creation of a child, and it would no longer look as it did when God created it, it would be man made. " According to the Christian viewpoint, 'What makes humans special is that we can limit ourselves, to recognize that something may be perfectly understandable and yet be wrong. (McKinney, 2003). Bill McKinney writes in his article "Design-a-kid", that, ' 'The choices we face, in fact, will settle this question on specialties once and for all.
If we cannot summon our ability to use self-restraint, or if it proves to be weak, we will leave our specialties behind forever. " What he is saying here is that our nation prides itself on our ability to be so interestingly diverse to one another. Black, white, tan, yellow, tall, short, fat, skinny, the range of different attributes is endless. Genetic tampering could take away that diverse quality, that "specialties" in each individual. The fear is that if we escape our limits we will ultimately become -? nothing (McKinney, 2003).
Creating limitation on this scientific finding will help us contain the amount and extent to which we modify the genes and keep our unique genetic makeup, unique. If we limit the use of genetic engineering to only curing specific genetic health issues, such as diseases or mutations, then society will view those limitations in the same light, for the most part. "Genetic Disease is a disease that is caused by an abnormality in an individual's DNA. Abnormalities can range from a small mutation in a single gene to the addition or subtraction of an entire chromosome or set of chromosomes. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2014). This definition limits the need for genetic engineering to only disrupted DNA and chromosomes. By choosing the genes of our offspring we could ultimately stop severe and unwanted birth defects from happening by just altering or eliminating that gene. For example, think of a couple that want to have a baby but they are too frightened to because the mother carries the gene for Down syndrome. With genetic engineering that could be fixed so that the family would not doom their child with that bad gene.
This scenario goes for all genetic defects such as autism, Down syndrome, Parkinson disease, and sickle cell disease. At the University of Pennsylvania, doctors and researchers genetically modified lymphocytes (T-cells) of cancer patients in order to create a "road- map" for chemotherapy to attack tumors. The research produced successful results, as the cells became 'serial killer T-cells' that destroyed cancerous tumors (source). If these diseases were to be permanently cured, medical genealogy could eliminate all this hassle: No more sitters, no more special medical attention, and no more worrying.
The price Of genetically altering the embryo would quickly pay for itself in terms of the overall cost and emotional strain caused by raising a deathly ill child. In retrospect of this information, I think it would be morally Mongo to not use genetic engineering. Designer babies are theoretical at this point. But is this idea in our near future? According to the Cornell Journal of Public Law & Policy it is closer than we think. "While the technology that would allow such alteration is still in a elatedly infantile state today, its maturity is closer than we might think.
In part due to this perceived immediacy, some Americans worry about the implications of such a science fiction-queues state of affairs, and so a number of Congressperson have sought unsuccessfully to ban prospectively the technology and all associated research. " (Pollard, 2014). Could we soon be picking our children from a catalog? Or will the government try to contain and control it to just altering for "therapeutic" purposes? Meaning, they would only allow genetic alterations to cure diseases before birth.
Genetic engineering could be a slippery slope that society begins to depend on instead of using it has a mechanism to end disease or find cures. The advances we've made in medical research are scary and exciting, as Doctor Allan Cooperage said. Genetic engineering could save lives, further our exploration in science, and help reduce the amount of patients in hospitals. If society uses genetic engineering specifically for medical purposes it not only has the potential to alter the medical field completely, but also to cure many birth disorders.