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Chapter: Basic Concept of Biotechnology - Medical Biotechnology

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Designer Babies - Medical Biotechnology

The phrase designer babies generally indicate the genetic interventions into the pre-implantation embryos in the effort to manipulate the traits the desired children will have.

Designer Babies

 

Introduction

The phrase designer babies generally indicate the genetic interventions into the pre-implantation embryos in the effort to manipulate the traits the desired children will have. The term “Designer babies” is a journalistic term used by commentators, not by scientists, to explain different reproductive technologies. Progress in three different fields has made designer babies possible:

 

Advanced Reproductive Technologies

 

The examples of such technologies are:

 

a.        In vitro fertilization

 

b.        Frozen embryos

 

c.         Direct injection of a sperm cell into an egg

 

d.        Egg and sperm donations

 

e.         Pregnancies by older women

 

f.          Surrogate motherhood

 

g.        Cell and Chromosome Manipulation

 

h.        Genetics and Genomics

 

Arguments for Designer babies:

 

It helps to prevent certain genetic diseases in children to protect them from suffering debilitating diseases and deformities, thus minimizing the financial and emotional strain on the parents

·        By screening embryos, naturally conceived but defected embryos are rejected from the womb

 

Arguments against Designer babies

 

·        In the course of making designer babies, embryos are terminated which does not fit with moral and religious criteria.

 

·        Bias against people already born with physical or mental disabilities would raise and they might be perceived as genetically inferior

 

·        There is always the threatening shade of eugenics. Designing of babies would give us venues to present our genetic preferences which might be dangerous in future.

 

·        The tampering of human genetic structure could damage the gene pool leading to undesired and unpredictable consequences.

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