To have a baby naturally, we need two parents of opposite sex. The woman’s egg supplies one set of chromosomes and that of the man the other. Once fertilized the embryo has all the genetic information it needs and it begins to grow and develop into a baby.
Suppose the father has blue eyes. He may carry a blue eye gene on one chromosome and a green eye gene on the other. The sperm will have a random 50:50 chance of getting the blue gene since there is room to fit just one of the two genes. The same will apply to all the other 20,000 or so genes which are believed to make humans. The exact same thing will take place in the generation of the mother’s egg. So the child is a random union of the potential gene combinations of the father and that of the mother. If neither parent carries the blue eye gene (i.e. each carries just the genes for brown eyes), then the baby cannot have blue eyes.
Unless a rare mutation event occurs which forms the blue gene OR CAN IT?
A baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected by genetic engineering to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes or characteristics is known as Designer Baby.
Currently, a Designer baby is created in a lab in this way:
- An embryo is created by in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
- A single cell is removed from that embryo within the first 5 days of its creation
- The cell is genetically tested
- Advanced reproductive technologies allow parents and doctors to screen embryos for genetic disorders and select healthy embryos.
At the moment it is only legally possible to carry out in two types
- Choosing the type of sperm that will fertilize an egg: this is used to determine the sex and the genes of the baby.
- Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis(PGD)
Real Life Story
In October 2000, Adam Nash was the world’s first designer baby born by pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). PGD refers to screening procedures performed on embryos to check for genetic disorders prior to implantation and pregnancy Embryos were grown to the eight-cell stage and are checked for genetic disorders. His parents were both carriers of Fanconi Anemia and passed this genetic disorder onto their daughter, Molly. To save Molly, a bone marrow transplant was needed. Doctors fertilized several of Adam’s mother’s eggs, but only implanted the one that was both genetically healthy and a match as a donor. Now, Molly is healthy and has been given a second chance at life
Advantages of having a Designer Baby
- Allows couples who can’t conceive normally to have children
- Allows couples to balance gender in their families
- Genetic screening reduces the baby’s chances of being born with a serious genetic disease
- Increases the likelihood of a healthy baby
- Reduces chances of miscarriage
- Reduces chances of termination due to disorder
- Can be used to save lives
Disadvantages of having a Designer Baby
- Moral and ethical concerns
- Too much like playing God
- Killing embryos that could have grown into humans
- High cost leads to a gap in society
- Genetically enhanced people may start to feel superior to those who haven’t been enhanced
- Such groups of people may become prejudiced against one another due to a feeling of lost common humanity with non-enhanced people.
Within a decade or two, it may be possible to screen kids almost before conception for an enormous range of attributes like:
- how tall they’re likely to be
- what body type they will have
- their hair and eye color
- what sorts of illnesses they will be naturally resistant to
- and even, conceivably, their IQ and personality type.
One can imagine “baby designing labs” where one visits whenever one wants a baby. Here you may design your child from a menu. In a society used to cosmetic surgery and psychopharmacology, this is not a big step!