Imagine, if deciding your children’s gender, skin color, hair color, eye color, height, and even their intelligence is possible. This is not a fantasy in a dystopian fiction but rather something that can be made possible within the next 10 to 20 years. Designer Babies are babies whose genetic make-up has been selected in order to destroy a particular defect or to ensure that a particular gene is present. Although this term and concept remain a controversial topic, it is evident that designer babies do more good than harm.
One advantage is that by modifying the genetic make-up of a baby, we are able to improve the baby’s health. When using the genetic modification technology to create a designer baby, the chances of genetic disorders can be reduced. For instance, it does not only decrease a baby’s chances of being affected by certain health conditions but increases a baby’s chances of survival as well. Designer babies are highly resistant to diseases such as cancer. Genetic editing allows a new pathway where future generations may become naturally immune to such diseases. This development process could ultimately put an end to this kind of suffering. For instance, cancer therapeutics involving genetic editing have already discovered to be useful using CRISPR to locate and kill offending cells.
Another advantage is that it could offer us a way to create more organ matches. According to information published by United Network for Organ Sharing, about 20 people die every day on average while waiting for their transplant. Over 100,000 people are currently waiting on a kidney, 14,000 for a liver, and about 4,000 for a heart. However, with the creation of designer babies, we can create a similar genetic profile in humans that can make it easier to find organ matches. Using genetic modification in babies, it may be possible to create organs that are an exact match to an individual. This can be done through using an efficient and rapid-acting chemical reaction called click chemistry that puts together multiple modified DNA fragments into a gene and using complex genome engineering. Creating organs that can be an exact match can reduce the chances of not being able to find a matching organ and a rejection after a transplant procedure.
Designer Babies could also be a way to prevent those who have genetic disorders. Although around 90% of the human population is born without a rare disease or genetic disorder, this indicates that 1 person out of 10 will be affected by a condition that can impact the quality of their life. That means that over 30 million people are affected by a genetic disorder that designer babies can prevent. There are more than 7,000 different diseases that have been identified so far that fit into this category, with over 80% of them having a potential cause in genetics. Early intervention could replace injured cells or insert missing ones to provide a potential cure.
Lastly, designer babies allow parents to choose characteristics. Genetic modification offers a wide variety of choices for parents. It offers the chance to choose or eliminate specific characteristics and traits of babies. Parents are given the chance to design the features of their child such as skin color, facial attributes, height, and even intelligence just like picking items from the supermarket shelves into the shopping cart. Parents will also be able to choose the gender of their child when going through the process of creation for a designer baby. Although these issues might seem unethical, a family with three boys might want to have a girl – or vice-versa. This process will help to resolve that issue into a reality without relying on the gamble of natural genetics.
Thus, it is evident that Designer Babies are indeed very beneficial; they not only allow the baby’s health to be improved, but also offer more opportunities for successful organ matches, treat those who are unfortunately genetically disordered, and allow parents to choose their favorable characteristics. Designer Babies will surely be a significant key to a new improvised and developed society.