Designer Babies | Teen Ink

Designer Babies

November 25, 2018
By jessiegreenman SILVER, Hemet, California
jessiegreenman SILVER, Hemet, California
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique- Walt Disney


Imagine you and your husband decide to have a kid so you go to the doctor. While at the doctor you choose everything from height to eye color. What is a designer baby? A designer baby is a genetically altered being. In order to understand why designer babies are such a conversely, people must examine the causes and effects of the problem and learn about the consequences of not addressing this issue soon. I will explain what a Designer baby is, the science behind designer babies, and how designer babies came about.

What is a Designer baby? A designer baby is genetically altered being. Meaning that when the baby was an embryo they edit the genes of the baby using CRISPR. This technology could be used to get rid of genetically passed diseases. But some people believe that it also could be used to make superhumans. According to Antonio Regalado “That’s the promise. The fear is that germ-line engineering is a path toward a dystopia of super people and designer babies for those who can afford it. Want a child with blue eyes and blond hair? Why not design a highly intelligent group of people who could be tomorrow’s leaders and scientists?” You might be wondering how CRISPR and designer babies all came about.

   What caused designer babies? To edit genes use a gene-editing technique called CRISPR. CRISPR works by cutting out a gene because the DNA is missing a Gene you DNA fills it in with the other parents DNA.Using CRISPR scientists know the exact location for a Certain gene. But CRISPR Could also be you to create designer babies. “Critics have warned CRISPR could be used to create designer babies. Picture some dystopian future where the rich can pay for all genetic flaws to be wiped out before the embryo is even implanted, leaving the poor at a permanent genetic disadvantage.” a quote from Sarah Buhr. You might be asking now how did this all come about?

In what ways are designer babies already being used? Designer babies all started with IVF. IVF is when a baby is fertilized in a lab then the baby is put in a mother's womb. This technique gave rise to another technique in which the baby has 3 parents instead of 2 so the baby had a higher chance of survival. Designer babies Came about in 2002 when an Embryo underwent the process where they edited the embryos gene to get rid of a disease which caused the loss of bone marrow and then was placed inside of the mother's womb.And many other attempts according to ED YONG “Wait, other human embryos have been edited before? There have been three attempts in China. The first two—in 2015 and 2016—used non-viable embryos that could never have resulted in a live birth. The third—announced this March—was the first to use viable embryos that could theoretically have been implanted in a womb. All of these studies showed that CRISPR gene-editing, for all its hype, is still in its infancy.”

Consequences are both good and bad and both would have a huge effect on society and on science. If we continue with the process of designer babies we could create superhumans which could be used for war or to control people's rights and to threaten them. But it could be used to eliminate harmful diseases that are genetically passed on such as breast cancer among there diseases. But it could also create diseases and virus because when the gene pool is limited the human race is more likely to widespread diseases and viruses. These are just some of the possible consequences and there are many more possible consequences but we won't know until the technology is fully developed.

Clearly, the topic of designer babies needs to be addressed.  The central issue surrounding designer babies is could it blow out of proportion.  However, experts do not agree on what would happen with this technology. Some experts believe that designer babies could help to eliminate diseases, while others believe that designer babies might lead to superhumans.

Some experts say that this technology could be used to advance the field of medicine and further society.  There is one Case where gene editing was used to create designer babies and it was used to get rid of a disease. The case was a little boy who had a disease which made his bones brittle and through gene editing, they fixed the disease and the baby was placed inside the mother womb. According to NINA LISS-SCHULTZ “Some of the more cautious and shrewd people are saying, ‘We’ll only use this to prevent the transmission of diseases.’ That does sound like a worthy goal, but here’s the thing: You don’t need to be editing genes to accomplish this because we already have embryo screening techniques that at this point are pretty standard add-ons in in vitro fertilization clinics.”  she is just one of the many experts believe this.And according to PAM BELLUCK “I personally feel we are duty bound to explore what the technology can do in a safe, reliable manner to help people,” Dr. Lovell-Badge said. “If you have a way to help families not have a diseased child, then it would be unethical not to do it.”

Other experts say that this technology could end up creating superhumans or to further the IQ and beauty of a person. Experts think that if this Technology falls into the wrong hands. People could start creating super babies they could have made them have Incredible strength or amazing eyesight. Instead of using this technology to cure diseases some experts believe that it will be used in the wrong ways not only to make a superhuman but also could affect the baby itself but accidentally edit need the wrong thing or the gene mutating and never really mean fix. Nicole Russell makes this Argument “That sounds good to me, but who's to say people don't want eugenics in the softer sense of the word? Designer babies have long been viewed as a symbol of advancement in the future, and there are plenty of people who wouldn't think twice about dictating their embryo's IQ or eye color. Can't you just see a wealthy Palo Alto couple saying, "While you're ridding our son of cystic fibrosis can you make sure he is tall, dark, handsome, and brilliant?"

Concluding many experts have different opinions on on designer babies. also designer babies could be a huge advance in society but it could also be detrimental. I personally feel that if we put laws in place to protect this technology being abused it could really had a positive effect on society. Not only would be able to cure diseases but we would also be giving people a happier and healthier life.


The author's comments:

Bibliography

Belluck, Pam.  “Gene Editing for ‘Designer Babies’? Highly Unlikely Scientist Say.”  The New York Times.  August 4, 2017.  Web. September 17 2017.

Yong, Ed.  “The Designer Baby Era Is Not Upon Us”  The Atlantic.  August 2, 2017.  Web. September 19, 2017.

Regalado, Antonio.  “Engineering the Perfect Baby.”  MIT technology review. March 5, 2015.  Web.  September 28, 2017.

Liss-Schultz, Nina. “We Are This Close to ‘Designer Babies.’” Mother Jones, 23 June 2017. Web. September 28, 2017

Buhr, Sarah. “CRISPR’d Human Embryos Doesn’t Mean Designer Babies Are around the Corner.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 28 July 2017. Web. October 15, 2017

Russell, Nicole. “Should Scientists, on the Verge of Designer Babies, Edit Human Embryos?” Washington Examiner, Washington Examiner, 1 Aug. 2017. Web. October 26, 2017


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