Designer Babies - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-30-2006, 07:52 PM
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I saw a special on the Telie while working out today about designer babies. I went rooting online when the babe went down for his nap and found some articles (this one's from webmd). http://www.webmd.com/content/article/96/103766.htm

just wondering what people think of it. (I think it's gross).
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#2 Old 05-30-2006, 08:21 PM
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dosent phase me one bit, there is a huge differance between picking out a embryo that is not carrying a fatal gene than picking out say a certain color hair or eyes.

I see nothing wrong with wanting to insure the heath of your offspring.

Just because it could go as far as picking out everything down to the freckles on your kids nose dosnt mean it will, the technology for that isnt even here yet.

As a person who's family history includes cancer in every female in the family for at least 2 generations and part of a 3rd generation I think the screening and being able to choose embryo's that are not only healthy but that wont pass on deadly diseases to thier offspring as well is a real breakthrough.
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#3 Old 05-30-2006, 08:24 PM
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It is a little weird but I suppose it depends if you're against "in vitro" or not. I'm not sure where I stand. My step sister had in vitro to have her children.
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#4 Old 05-30-2006, 09:03 PM
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I can totally understand why a parent would want to be able to choose... and if I was a parent who could potentially save a sick child by having another with the right characteristics, or if I was able to have the guarantee that my child would be illness and disability free I'm sure the urge would be overwhelming.



But, right now, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable and I do not agree with it. But, then I'm also against IVF and abortion so I am certainly biased.

And, I think it is very easy for someone like me to pass judgement when a) I have no children, let alone a sick one, and b) I have no family history of the sort of things that screening would be applied to. I am certain that if I did have sick kids or have a family history of something like cancer etc then I'd probably be signing up right now.
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#5 Old 05-30-2006, 09:04 PM
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in the UK there are laws to prevent people using this system to do things like choose the sex of their child... aparently in some cultures one sex is preferred over another- there were major concerns about people disguarding say... female embryos... and the effect that this would have on the male to female ratio of the population in some areas. that kind of thing worries me. i don't know how ethical i'd find it to screen embryos, if it means one embryo gets life over another- there is a big ethical dilemma in my head about the balance between preventing a very short, pain filled life of a child that would never be able to conciously think or feel to any extent... and the knowledge that perhaps on some level that same child could have moments of joy, pleasure, and sensory growth, and give joy and love to their parents, by way of just existing. ok, so they say they are screening to prevent a child having a condition like cystic fibrosis... but what they are really doing is stopping that child from ever being born. so how far does this go... from preventing the birth of children with a physical problem, or the potential for developing one.... who could still lead a very happy and inspirational, arbeit shorter than average life, and maybe prevent the life of someone who would make profound discoveries and have amazing mental gifts.... someone like stephen hawking, for example... to preventing the birth of a child who is genetically prone to depression- just like van gogh and winston churchhill were, etc? i guess its a tricky ethical one.... just like abortion, and assisted pregnancy, are.
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#6 Old 05-30-2006, 09:22 PM
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I am not opposed to filtering out genetic disorders. I think my worst nightmare would be to have a child with some sort of horrible disorder, like that little girl who was born without a face...she was on TLC one night and her life is filled with pain that will never end until she dies. I would never want to bring a child into the world who is only meant to die in a few short years. To knowingly do so just seems cruel to me.



Selecting for things like intelligence, looks, talents and so on though...I don't agree with that at all. It's not necessary, but it is certainly shallow to care that much about what colour your kids eyes are.

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#7 Old 05-30-2006, 09:28 PM
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well I myself would certainly not do it. (I do have a rare genetic disorder in my family. it's nothing too serious just a bad reaction to anesthesia realted to the heart.) anywho another thing that caught my attention on the broadcast was that some people were starting to abort their children because of minor deformities (cleft lip, webbed fingers ect.) the only pages I've found on that subject however were just religious rantings.
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#8 Old 05-30-2006, 09:35 PM
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What, and it's not shallow to dress your baby in adorable clothing rather than the cheapest clothing available?



I don't find this offensive at all. I'm not sure why it's so horrible to want your kid to have green eyes & brown hair. Too close to eugenics for people's comfort?



If you're doing IVF anyway, wouldn't it make sense to pick the embryo that is the healthiest? If three of four don't have genetic defects, why not pick the one that has the features you want? By that point anyway, you've already removed a lot of the "magic" of reproduction anyway... why not go all the way. :shrug:
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#9 Old 05-30-2006, 09:49 PM
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well I guess it's cause I'm not too fond on IVF in the first place. there are so many healthy babies already out there that need a home. why would you go through medical procedures (not too romantic) to conceive when you can just adopt.

Not to get too personal here but the night my husband and I conceived (it only took once) was a very beautiful moment.
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#10 Old 05-30-2006, 09:52 PM
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Considering how much IVF costs, I would want a healthy baby as a result, so I don't think screening for a genetic illness is a bad thing.



I have always felt that if I knew I had a high chance of having a child with a severe genetic disorder (for example, muscular dystrophy) I would not have children. Screening embryos would give couples in that situation the chance to have a child without the risk of them being very sick. There is no bad here.



As for "designing" your baby to have green eyes or curly hair - it sounds like an awful lot of effort for very little gain to me!
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#11 Old 05-30-2006, 10:02 PM
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well I guess it's cause I'm not too fond on IVF in the first place. there are so many healthy babies already out there that need a home. why would you go through medical procedures (not too romantic) to conceive when you can just adopt.

Not to get too personal here but the night my husband and I conceived (it only took once) was a very beautiful moment.



So why would you go through the sexual procedures (not too precise) to conceive when you can just adopt?



Sarcasm aside, there isn't a moral difference between the two. However, I find it hilarious that you sit there with the baby you chose to birth and tell other people that they can't do the same. At least when I argue not to create offspring I don't already have my own.
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#12 Old 05-30-2006, 10:19 PM
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I don't agree with not conceiving. just using IVF. I am planning to adopt though.
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#13 Old 05-31-2006, 12:10 AM
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I don't know exactly how comfortable I am with choosing all the characteristics of an embryo, but I do like the idea of selecting against inherited genetic diseases.



Elliottsmom, just to give you an idea about why some people do IVF, here is the story of my Dad, my stepmom and 3 of my siblings:



My dad and mom split when I was six after having 2 children, me and my sister Kelli. Originally, my dad only wanted 1 child, and my sister was a bit of an unexpected surprise 3 years later. To ensure there would be no more 'surprises' he had a vascectomy.



My parents divorced a few years later, and my father remarried. My stepmom realised after they had been married for a few years that she really, really wanted children. Preferably a biological child. I once found a letter (while I was snooping) that she wrote to him saying that if he was not interested in having children with her, she would have to leave him, even though she really loved him. She wanted children that badly!



My dad loved her so much, he tried to have his vascectomy reversed, but after 10 years, the little guys just couldn't make it on their own. So they enlisted a little help, in the form of fertility treatments and IVF. They had the $$$ and the drive to do it. After 2 failed attempts to implant an embryo, they were trying for one last time, and they put in 3 embryos. They all implanted and my stepmom carried 3 healthy babies to term.



My siblings, Bobby, Emily and Kennedy are turning 8 years old this summer and they bring more joy to the man who at 29 only wanted one child than he ever could have imagined. Now my Dad is 50, and has 2 fully grown children and 3 little kids. He's gonna be 60 before they're out of the house, but he doesn't regret it. Not even a little.

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#14 Old 05-31-2006, 12:43 AM
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I don't find this offensive at all. I'm not sure why it's so horrible to want your kid to have green eyes & brown hair.



Because brown hair is tragically boring. The poor kid would have to buy hair dye for the rest of it's life.



J/k

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#15 Old 05-31-2006, 12:59 AM
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I don't find this offensive at all. I'm not sure why it's so horrible to want your kid to have green eyes & brown hair. Too close to eugenics for people's comfort?



It IS eugenics. The problem is that there isn't a simple one-to-one mapping of genes to attributes. Even nature has had mistakes where the "intended" goal was countered by additional, unexpected modifications.



example: Nature found a way to genetically modify humans to become insusceptible to malaria. The only problem is, a side affect to this cure is sicle cell anemia.



example: an orchid evolved to become larger and more attractive to critters that would spread their pollen. It worked, but the walls of the flower had become narrower at the base, so they served, basically, as roach motels. The orchid, in an process meant to boost its population, failed to the point of extinction, except for the ones which hadn't gone through the change so substantially.





Genetically modifying your kid's genes to give then green eyes may modify a gene that participates in the control of myriad other human attributes.



Another thing to consider - before they do any of this crap on humans, who do you think they test it on?
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#16 Old 05-31-2006, 01:29 AM
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I don't think that anyone is talking genetic modification here. Aren't people talking about a "litter" of embryos and selecting the one(s) that doesn't have genetic predisposition for certain diseases - and hey while you're at it, of the two that don't have the genetic mapping for the hereditary blood disease in the family, implant the two that will have brown hair.



or something like that.
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#17 Old 05-31-2006, 02:10 AM
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Still sounds a little "Logan's Run" to me.
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#18 Old 05-31-2006, 06:55 AM
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If some of these kids grow up to be vegans, will they be extra sad at all the animals that were experimented on to provide the technology needed for their 'designer baby' procedure? I'm totally against science playing God. Gross.
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#19 Old 05-31-2006, 07:02 AM
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Some apparently genetic mental illnesses ( bipolar and unipolar depression) are not well understood, but in some (or even perhaps many) cases are associated with beneficial aspects such as creativity. So I'm not convinced they should be "washed out" of the gene pool.
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#20 Old 05-31-2006, 07:21 AM
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Every so often I'll hear people talk about knowing the exact day their baby was conceived. Do they only have sex once a month or something?
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#21 Old 05-31-2006, 10:16 AM
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This makes me uneasy. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it certainly has the potential for abuse. The next "Hitler" of the world might think only genetically pure people should be allowed to survive.



We might also breed ourselves into stagnation. Suppose this practice becomes commonplace and people begin picking the attributes they want their kids to have. After generations of doing this, it is discovered that a characteristic that is unappealing to the vast majority is linked to another characteristic that might have allowed a cure for something to be created.



Or maybe because it's possible to choose the attributes of our kids, a new prejudice develops, either for or against those that had/didn't have a choice.



Our current system of reproduction ensures a genetic diversity and if we start tampering with it, we may very well be the cause of our own extinction. Then again, I'm a pessimist.
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#22 Old 05-31-2006, 10:18 AM
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I oppose IVF in general (and before anyone jumps down my throat, I have no intention of having any kind of biological children), so I see this to a certain extent as an extension of the basic principle--having to have a child with particular genes, rather than adopting.



That said--don't most couples who do IVF create more embryos than are intended to be implanted and carried to term? So in that sense, they are already knowingly denying some of them the potential for life in their attempts to have a child. Is this any worse? While it certainly makes me uncomfortable, I'm not sure.
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#23 Old 05-31-2006, 01:44 PM
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I'm against discarding embryos and fetuses, whether through abortion or IVF or whatever. If we're talking about creating one embryo with designer looks/health, with no discarded "rejects," I don't care a bit. Everyone designs their babies one way or another.
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#24 Old 05-31-2006, 08:44 PM
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I wonder what these people will do if their child ends up not being perfect despite all their effort? No matter what you do, you're not guaranteed a healthy baby. It seems they want their "money's worth" with the IVF procedure and a healthy, perfect baby in the end. What happens if they're baby turns out unhealthy anyway? Won't they be resentful of the effort wasted on this unperfect being? I question the true motives behind anyone wanting to do this honestly.

That said, I can't control what others do of course. I just think it's kind of foolish to expect you can make a perfect human being.

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#25 Old 06-01-2006, 12:31 PM
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Well, in the Netherlands parents can euthanize their terminally ill babies. Maybe eventually we'll see "imperfection" as a just cause for euthanasia, too.
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#26 Old 06-01-2006, 12:40 PM
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well, i keep trying to post something about this, but i go all over the place and can't stop rambling...there are just too many issues to address with this...all i can say is it gives me the creeps...there...
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#27 Old 06-01-2006, 06:52 PM
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I can see where people want to do this. I'm a carrier of a gene that if I breed with another carrier I could potentially (1/4 chance) produce a terminally ill child who would require regular blood transfussions. If I felt the NEED to breed with another carrier, this probably would be the way I would go. (if it was possible to detect in the embyro)



It is a moot point anyways, considering I don't plan on breeding and it's rather rare in the US.



And I doubt we'll ever understand genes that much so we can "choose" the gene selection. If so, that could screw with the diversity, but we aren't there yet.
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#28 Old 06-01-2006, 08:11 PM
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I'm sooo disgustingly old fashioned. I believe in an omniscient creator and controller of all existence, and I think it has a plan for me and my babies. And I think it is perfectly capable of choosing what my baby's physical situation is going to be, without my help.



I do understand though that this is a personal, spiritual belief and really has nothing to do with anyone else. Guess I'd have to be WAY more wise and knowledgeable than I am to decide whether or not selective breeding is ethical and should be legal.
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#29 Old 06-02-2006, 09:15 AM
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I wonder what these people will do if their child ends up not being perfect despite all their effort? No matter what you do, you're not guaranteed a healthy baby.



I imagine people who do this would sign waivers up the wazoo.
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#30 Old 06-02-2006, 10:16 AM
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I wonder what these people will do if their child ends up not being perfect despite all their effort? .......... I just think it's kind of foolish to expect you can make a perfect human being.

Mary



I think that they would be terribly sad, as any parent would be. You know, there are a lot of genetically messed up kids who were created the old fashioned way, who are in foster/group homes. Not every parents keeps their retarded or physically deformed child(ren) no matter how well they planned or didn't plan for the birth. I don't think these planners would be any more likely to abandon their children.



Prospective parents know that they can't insure the birth of a perfect baby (yet) but, the good ones do what they can to up the likelihood of a *perfect* baby.
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