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Biotech Science

Designer Babies 902

Singularity Hub writes "The Fertility Institutes recently stunned the fertility community by being the first company to boldly offer couples the opportunity to screen their embryos not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color, hair color, and complexion. The Fertility Institutes proudly claims this is just the tip of the iceberg, and plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available. Even as couples from across the globe are flocking in droves to pay the company their life's savings for a custom baby, opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries. Like it or not, the era of designer babies is officially here and there is no going back."
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Designer Babies

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  • Or money back (Score:2, Informative)

    by igny ( 716218 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @10:21PM (#26992077) Homepage Journal
    I remember a story about someone who used a certain modern "scientific" technique to provide a guarantee of baby's gender. If he was wrong he promised the money back. Of course he got to keep the money in about 50% of the time.
  • Good grief. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @10:51PM (#26992435)

    These embryos aren't being aborted. These are being created outside the body, then being genetically tested, then implanted if they have the traits the parents are looking for. The ones that don't have the traits the parents are looking for may be dumped. You may claim society won't put up with it. Well, fine, except that society already does. Fertility clinics already create about a dozen embryos for every child born. The rest of the embryos are usually frozen and eventually disposed of. Because "designer babies" are something that gets people stirred up, it's suddenly a huge problem (just like with stem cells, "Oh shock and horror, they can't be used for MEDICAL RESEARCH! Flush them down the sink where they belong!")

  • Re:Life savings? (Score:2, Informative)

    by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @10:57PM (#26992505) Homepage Journal

    If not hair color, then intelligence? Who are you to say which traits are trivial and which are worth enhancing?

  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @11:09PM (#26992665) Homepage Journal

    even more outrageous..
      Name your daughter Aryan Nation... Then name your son Adolph Hitler..

    Nah.. who would dare?

    (hint- true life is weirder than fiction)

  • How Disordered (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @11:12PM (#26992683)

    "Disease" and "gender" are benign too, says the father of a little boy with Down's syndrome. Sure we could have offed him and saved ourselves some trouble, but he is a unique, happy person and I will NEVER regret having a "diseased" child.

  • by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @11:45PM (#26993059) Journal

    Is getting your children taken away by the state part of this plan? Seems risky to me... you don't know who will end up with them. Although, it is a cheap way to have kids... []

  • by Z80xxc! ( 1111479 ) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @12:03AM (#26993271)
    As an example, people with sickle-cell anemia tend to be resistant to malaria. So, there are bad diseases with potential benefits associated.
  • by Brickwall ( 985910 ) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @12:58AM (#26993751)
    Not that I'm claiming you said anything to do with first name/last names, Chris, but the real idiocy is the GPP's. The reason girl babies are being aborted/drowned/abandoned across Asia is families have to give other families money to marry their daughters. So a daughter is a financial liability to 1) raise, and 2) marry, and then after that, 3) the woman is then considered part of her husband's family, not her own. It has nothing to do with carrying on the family name.

    BTW, I'm married to an Asian woman, who told me precisely this, and we have two spectacular daughters that I wouldn't trade for anything. She told me she would never have married a Chinese guy because of the way she'd expect him to treat her.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:26AM (#26995035) Journal

    You seem to assume that you can just produce all combinations there. You can't.

    E.g., out of two black haired Japanese parents you can't feasibly produce a redhead, because (A) neither of them has the gene, and (B) it's recessive, so the baby would need TWO such genes, one from each parent, to actually get red hair. The probability that _both_ the egg _and_ the sperm have that mutation out of nowhere, is pretty much nil.

    It might work if both parents had the gene as recessive, but that's not a given. And then you can't want your second child to be a blonde.

    The same problem hapens if you want, say, blue eyes for the kid. There is exactly one version of that gene that actually produces blue eyes. If the parents don't have it, that's that.

    Of course, I suppose the wife could get some help from the milkman or whatnot ;)

  • by eugene ts wong ( 231154 ) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @08:57AM (#26996579) Homepage Journal

    Yep. Our family had to give the bride's family a pig and some other stuff. They gave us absolutely nothing.

    I believe that both families should give money towards a home for the new family.

    In case anybody is wondering, the situation was my brother, from a Fukian [correct sp?] background, married a girl, from a Cantonese background, and her grandmother was the only person insisting on a tradition that nobody else cared about. I can't remember what the cost of the pig was, but it was a lot. We aren't a wealthy family. Both the bride and groom were born in Canada, and none of them really cared for tradition. Her parents were really down to earth, and didn't care either.

  • by Asic Eng ( 193332 ) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @09:15AM (#26996769)
    Hi there - I'm married to a Taiwanese lady we have one daughter. :-)

    I think what you state is not completely correct. In traditional Chinese culture ancestor worship is very important. If you sacrifice something at a temple, then your sacrifice goes to support your ancestors in the afterlife. Problem is that your sacrifice only goes to the ancestors which have your family name. So if you have no male heirs you are not only suffering without support in the afterlife, you are also failing to provide for your ancestors. That's why many Chinese (particularly in rural areas) feel they ought to have at least one male child - combine that with a one-child policy and you have a big problem on your hands.

  • by arekusu_ou ( 1344373 ) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @10:39AM (#26997713)

    Yeah, the cost of marrying off their daughters is the reason why they kill their daughters.

    Not the fact that they can only have ONE child, either a daughter or son, and most prefer a son TO carry on their family's name. What the hell is the daughter going to do? Not carry on the families name? That's useful. Even in families with a son and daughter, the daughter could be smarter or more skilled and the moron of a son is still considered a better heir to the family line.

    I don't dispute any other point you made about how she expected a chinese guy to treat her. And she may very well have told you that. But financial liability is less significant than the insanity asians feel about the family line. I see a slight importance in European lines but the female's family tree actually matters and I'm not familiar much with African or South American but seeing how African women in some tribes could own and inherit in the past, I'd say they also put some value in the female's family line.

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