Implanted embryos being born as healthy babies is already passé. If you have the money, someone will do the procedure for you, whether you are part of a couple or not. There is a new twist on baby implants, genetic testing before implantation. On the surface, genetic testing sounds really swell.
A woman’s fertilized eggs may be tested for certain genetic illnesses. If any of the fertilized eggs test positive, the egg is not implanted, and a another approved fertilized egg is implanted instead. Like Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops, and cloned animals, we have the technology. We will soon have the technology to produce designer babies.
Genetic testing may have a positive effect on an individual and the parents who raise them. Many horrible diseases, emphysema, dementia, certain cancers, many other diseases may be prevented before a fetus is developed, or implantation is performed.
This technology has wonderful application which may be of great benefit to individual parents and the world in general. How comforting it would be to know your child will not develop a genetically prone disease from your genes, thanks to, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) selection, it will be prevented or downgraded before implantation and development.
A major disadvantage is how this technology will likely be applied. It probably won’t wind up being used for poor families in India, Africa, and other poor nations or countries, who have a surplus of people, and a deficit of resources. It will be used for additional trials and testing, and by those who can afford the cost. The price tag of IVF already restricts itself to the wealthy. Genetic testing before implantation raise the cost considerably.
Implications exist as this relates to gene therapy trials. Every process or procedure is safe until something unforeseen happens. Who wants to be the parents of an enhanced embryo which grows into a child, and later develops a terminal disease linked to some little understood gene combination and selection process?
Are there serious moral and ethical issues with designer babies? Some issues will be addressed by each couple in turn. Society as a whole will have its say. What will happen if a nation decides what its citizens should look like, and starts using genetic testing to eliminate unwanted skin, hair, or eye colors before implantation. What if testing to eliminate unwanted babies is done? Will we start producing children that will start to look like the Aliens of our imagination when grown adults?
Once a technology is made possible and published, it is out of the control of well wishers and loose in the real wold. IVF and Human GMO is destined to find acceptance in possible military technology. On the other side, abortion gives support to the idea of genetic testing and implantation. Agree with abortion or not, discarding or not implanting an embryo is less distasteful than aborting a developing fetus.
If these ideas sound a little far fetched, uterus implantation for the wealthy and childless woman is here. Soon, with enough money, a woman may have her uterus replaced with a healthy uterus, give birth to a baby, and have the uterus removed before organ rejection occurs. The Human future is either looking very exciting, or very scary, depending on how you see this use of technology. Where should we go with our technology, let it free, or reign it in?