Designer Babies

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Is it ethical to be able to choose the sex of a child, his or her specific traits, or genetic characteristics? This is an important topic that is up for debate, and although there does not seem to be any right or wrong answer, this is very controversial. Many people say that this could lead to human cloning and the possibility of eugenics- the practice of "improving" the human gene pool by eliminating undesirable results. Some good results can come from creating these children in that they could help people with diseases, such as cancer or a blood disorder.

The term "designer babies" is a term used by journalists and commentators to describe how the babies were created through several different reproductive technologies. Designer babies are made possible by three different fields: advanced reproductive technology, cell and chromosome manipulation, and genetics and genomics. There are several techniques used to help screen the embryos for high-risk disease, unknown diseases, or select the sex of a baby. Today it is even possible for a person to select traits that they want the baby to inherit such as eye color or an athletic ability.

The first designer baby successfully conceived was born in 1997. This was the first case in human genetic modification that resulted in a normal, healthy child. By 2002, 17 babies had been conceived at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St. Barnabas, a New Jersey fertility clinic. Instead of just having two parents, these children had three genetic parents: mother, father and mtDNA donor.

Some parents elect to create a baby to help another child. One such case emerged in 2000 when the Nashes ran out of choices and decided to have another child. They had a six-year-old girl named Molly, who was born with a rare genetic bone marrow disease, and unless she received a transplant from someone with the identical tissue type, she would die. Both Lisa and Jack Nash were carriers for Fanconi anemia, a...
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