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Designer Babies Essay

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Designer Babies?

The term 'designer baby' made its entry into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004, where it is defined as "a baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected by genetic engineering, combined with in vitro fertilization to make sure the presence or absence of particular genes or characteristics." This term was coined by journalists and not scientists. Advances in genetics have given birth to this concept of 'designer baby', wherein, parents and doctors can genetically screen embryos for any genetic disorders. In vitro fertilization, IVF, technique involves the fertilization of the egg by the sperm in test tubes, outside the mother's body. This allows doctors to screen the embryos. Genetic screening has made it possible to eliminate genes associated with several genetic defects and terminal illnesses. Revolutionary techniques called preimplantation processes are used to screen embryos for any genetic disease and only the disease-free embryos are implanted into the mother's womb. However, the technique is not limited to screening for genetic and hereditary disorders, but is also used for cosmetic reasons. Dr Jeff Steinberg, Director of the Los Angeles Fertility Institute, who played a major role in the world's first test tube baby in 1978, states that by using preimplantation genetic diagnosis, PGD, parents can choose the gender, eye, skin and hair color of the baby. Various other physical traits such as intelligence, beauty, height, stopping a propensity towards obesity, freedom from mental illnesses, athletic ability, etc. can be also determined. He went on to say that this service is available solely to couples seeking IVF. Moreover, the price for each baby is $15000 to $18,000.  On the whole are designer babies ethical or not? What are the pros and cons of designer babies? Here are some advantages and disadvantages that accompany this modern technique. 
Genetic screening can reduce the baby's chances of being born with several serious...

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