"The Concept of Designer Babies or DNA Replacement" is a great example of genetics research. Medical science has developed so much for the last two decades so that even the genetic defects of the embryos can be rectified by replacing the faulty sections of DNA with healthy DNA. Though so far this therapy (germ line therapy) has tested successfully on animals alone, it is possible to apply the same technology to human embryos as well. (What is a designer baby? 2002) It is possible to design a baby based on the requirement of the parents using advanced reproductive technologies by modifying the required DNA of the embryo.
Since nobody wants to have a defective baby, the modification of defective DNA of the embryo may not raise many criticisms, but the attempt to design a baby based on the parent’ s requirements by modifying the genetic characteristics of an embryo has raised many legal and ethical issues. The diversity of life on earth is the core element of the sustainability of life. For example, if all the animals are equally strong it is difficult for a tiger or lion to catch their prey like deer and hence they will be wiped off from the earth.
The same law is applicable to humans as well. The characteristics of a person are determined by the gene transfer from his parent to him. Some parents may have intelligent and idiot children because of the random or natural selection of genes. It is not ethical to modify the characteristics of these genes as per the requirement of the parents to make the embryo a custom made one since only the creator has the right to alter the characteristics of his creation.
Creator must have an intention behind each and every creation. It is morally not right to alter the creation of another one since the person who tries to alter the creation of the creator himself is another creation of the same creator. Designing a baby is an expensive process that can be handled only by rich people. Most of our efforts, political and social are intended to reduce the gap between the rich and poor and to create a healthy society where all people have equal social and financial status.
The attempt to design a baby will again increase the gap between the rich and the poor. Only the rich people will be capable of designing intelligent children while the poor people may not be able to access such facilities and hence the concept of the designer baby will spoil the whole existing social norms and principles. The concept of designer babies has raised challenges to the theories of eugenics. As per the eugenic theory, the reproduction by persons having genetic defects or inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) must be discouraged and the reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits must be encouraged in order to create a healthy and intelligent future generation.
Persons with negative eugenics can have smart children with the help of genetic engineering. Genetic modification can be used to alter gender, genetic diseases, appearance, personality, and even IQ. Nobody may question the morality behind the modification of genes of an embryo with defective characteristics. To conclude, the designer baby is a wrong concept since it challenges the whole concept of biological evolution on earth.
But at the same time, the modification of the genes of a defective embryo must be considered just as a treatment a doctor provides to a sick person.
1. What is a designer baby?, (2002), Retrieved on May 28, 2009 from