This article provides a thorough yet concise introduction to the ethics of designer babies. Genetic engineering is one of the hottest issues in the world today and it is important to know the basics.
In 2004 the term “designer baby” made the transition from sci-fi movies and weblogs into the Oxford English Dictionary, where it is defined as “a baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected by genetic engineering combined with in vitro fertilization to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes or characteristics.” This coinage was prompted by recent advances in genetics that may make such babies possible. We need to pause and ask what moral or ethical limits, if any, should apply to the selection of our children’s genes or characteristics. Before we can answer this we must address other questions:
What issues should we consider before modifying humans?
•How would designer babies be made?
•Is there a moral or ethical difference between using genetic technologies to prevent disease and to enhance human capacities?
•Should we be striving to protect our humanity from genetic enhancement?
•What effect will human genetic modification have on society?
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