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Potential parents can now rely on science instead of nature to determine the propensity of having a perfect baby (Baker, n.d). Modern doctors now recommend that all pregnant women with histories of several miscarriages, still born births or previous histories of giving birth to children with genetic defects seek prenatal testing to reveal the causes of these complications. A family history of an inheritable disorder could result to mothers giving birth to babies with the same genetic disease. Fortunately, these disorders can be detected early before births and modern tools have promised even more potential ways of testing a wide range of these disorders. It is also expected that these techniques will be more affordable, easier to use and even more accurate. These tests are only recommended to individuals with histories of genetic diseases so that other reproductive technologies can be employed to ensure parents have perfect babies. For instance, if a gene causing a disorder has been identified in embryos following eggs and sperms DNA analysis (ex utero genetic testing), these embryos are discarded and only the ones devoid of defective genes are implanted into the uterus of the mother (Baker, n.d). However, genetic testing should not be done for non-medical purposes such as choosing the intelligence gene, gender and babies with blue eyes. These non-medical objectives of prenatal testing have posed a heated debate in the ethical circles and the practice has been perceived to be discriminative. For instance, if mother chose to have babies with intelligence gene, the babies without this gene would be discriminated in schools and workplaces (Baker, n.d).
While genetic testing raises some ethical issues, it is worth noting that the practice has some merits as well as demerits. Using genetic testing method will reveal complications that can be avoided earlier before implantation. For instance, in the case of Mollie and Carlos, knowing the genetic status can indeed be important to avoid risks of their babies having cystic fibrosis (CF) which is a form of genetic disorder characterized by lungs extensively clogged with mucus (Baker, n.d). One limitation of these procedures is that it costs thousands of dollars and unfortunately this may not be covered by health insurance. The high failure rates may also bar individuals adopting the intervention. The high rate of failures means that it may take several trials before a procedure works. This also implies that several embryos have to be discarded raising debates on life termination ethics. The decision to choose a sperm or egg donor for their future baby in case Carlos tests positive for CF can be challenging (Baker, n.d). Even if Mollie and Carlos successfully had a baby without CF through the new technologies, the baby could still be vulnerable to other infections just like any other baby. Apart from CF, other genetic disorders still exist and some of them have not been identified by the existing technologies (Baker, n.d).
In general, genes dictate who we are. The concept of having designers babies has been viewed to be outlandish and the babies made this way may not feel as normal babies once they realize they only developed in a test-tube. The practice of interfering with our genes should be stopped unless when carried out for medical reasons. The science of eugenics has gone way too far and parents are now deciding on the specific traits they want their children to be. Parents in the future will be caught in between countless decisions to make for their future babies. Already, tests confirming the gender of babies are available. In cultures which value boys than girls, there will be a serious lack of girls in the future. Lack of one of the sexes will mean heavy problems in species continuity.
- Historical Progression of Morality
- Features of Ethics
- Virtue Ethics
- Different Perspectives on Ethics