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Designer Babies and Frankenstein

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Kathryn Cooke

on 22 March 2015

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Transcript of Designer Babies and Frankenstein

The Argument Against Designer Babies The Risks Ethical Issues Scientists are smart, but not immune to mistake
A gene vital for survival may be unintentionally tampered with
Our bodies are a maze of complicated pathways, biological signals, and interrelationships
Inserting a certain genome may have benefits but it can also have negative effects
The fixing of one thing could lead to the side effects of others (which may remain unknown until later in life)
Insertion of a copy of DNA may interrupt the function of another gene crucial for survival Designer Babies "Playing God" Connection to Frankenstein Design vs. Outcome Ability to Create the Ideal Child Helpful for Other Siblings The Argument For Designer Babies Parents have assurance that their children won't struggle with the same illness their family members are/were going through
Helps families in the long run, economically
Only pay a fee for the procedure of implanting a healthy embryo
Wouldn't need to be burdened by the prices of endless medical treatment for a child with a genetic disorder
Techniques can be used to change the genetic makeup of a child to allow them to live
EX: some children die before they are born or when they are very young, and creating a "designer baby" will greatly reduce the risk of this
Families would not have to see their child in agony Able to choose physical traits
Hair color, eye color, skin tone, and gender* Kathryn Cooke and Jennifer Giri Can prevent disorders such as: Becker Muscular Dystrophy, Breast Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemophilia, Prostate Cancer, Tay-Sachs Disease, etc. "Designer baby" can act as a blood or bone marrow donor made specifically for the sibling that's in need of it
Blood cells from umbilical cords are often taken at birth
Baby experiences no physical pain in this process Prevents Genetic Disorders *FUN FACT: First baby ever "designed," Adam Nash, saved his sister's life by giving her the blood cells from his umbilical cord. Adam was not put through any kind of medical procedures, so he was in no way affected. and Frankenstein Decreased Genetic Variation Reference Designer Babies What are Designer Babies? A designer baby starts from an embryo created using in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
IVF - When an egg is fertilized by sperm outside of the body
The embryo is genetically altered according to the requests/needs of the parent
Traits and the presence of diseases can be controlled 1. Arnold, Paul. "The Downside of Human Genetic Engineering." Bright Hub. Bright Hub Inc., 10 14 2009. Web. 4 Apr 2013.

2. Campbell, Jordan. "Embryo screening sparks controversy over ‘desPark, Alice. "Designer Baby." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.igner babies’." the Sheaf. N.p., 1 Oct 2011. Web. 4 Apr 2013.

3. Darnovsky, Marcy. " The Case Against Designer Babies." Center for Genetics and Society. N.p.. Web. 4 Apr 2013.

4. "Designer Babies – Playing God in the Womb." Beginning And End. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2013.

5. Layton, Julia. "How Designer Children Work." HowStuffWorks. N.p.. Web. 4 Apr 2013.

6. "The Negative Aspects Of Designer Babies." Genetics and Designer Babies. N.p.. Web. 4 Apr 2013.

7. "The Lancet IPad App: Articles in a New Light." Designer Babies: Choosing Our Children's Genes : The Lancet. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.

8. Lalwani, Puja. Buzzle.com. Buzzle.com, 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 07 Apr. 2013. People have the ability to control the traits of their potential child
Certain traits + diseases may become endangered, or even extinct
EX: Blue or green eyes can be favored over brown, so brown eyes will disappear
If there is low genetic variation, there can be low biodiversity
If a virus is deadly to one person, others are very likely to catch it and have the same negative effects How Does It Work? There are 3 steps:
1. Creating an Embryo with In-vitro fertilization (IVF).
IVF: An egg and sperm are placed together in a petri dish for fertilization.
Embryo will ideally have the desired characteristics the parents have chosen
2. Removing a single cell from the embryo within five days of conception, and genetically testing the cell.
3. The parents decide whether to discard the embryo or implant it in the mother's womb.
Delivery will be the same as a normal baby would be born. What Are Our Opinions? Jennifer: Kathryn: To me, designer babies ruin the excitement of a child because part of the experience is seeing them grow, and being surprised. Also, in our lives there are meant to be challenges we need to overcome, and if we eliminate those, how can we ever grow as human beings? I also find it unsettling that if a version of a child is not what you want, you essentially kill it and move onto the next one. What happens if the selected child grows up with an awful personality? Will you kill that child, and start all over again? The concept of designer babies is morally wrong. I believe that changing your baby before it takes is first breath is a little inhumane. Maybe a trait seems perfect at the time, but people need strife and disease to grow. A world with designer babies could quickly become a distopia. We should take children as they were meant to be, because in reality, those people could have turned out better than their genetically modified counterpart. Some claim that people are trying to "Play God"
Doing so can be looked upon as morally wrong
"Man is falling for Satan’s original deception by attempting to take the place of God and the results could be disastrous." (Article 4)
"[US Presidents Council on Bioethics member Michael Sandel] argues that 'To appreciate our children as gifts is to accept them as they come, not as objects of our design or products of our will or instruments of our ambition.'" (Article 7)
In Frankenstein, Victor is clearly ashamed of certain aspects of the creation of the monster
"I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart." (Shelley, 47) In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor creates his monster with a beautiful image in mind
"His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful." (Shelley, 47)
Victor´s living monster wasn't beautiful as hr hoped
"A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch." (Shelley, 38)
Parents may think they are choosing the best for their baby, but the outcome could not be as planned
Chosen traits that were thought to have a positive impact may not end up being so positive
"Perhaps the objection is to the fact that the child's genes were chosen for him by his parents, thus forcing the child to have certain talents and not others. For example, it might be thought that if the child's parents picked genes associated with musical ability, their child would be forced to be a musician, when maybe he or she would rather have been an athlete." (Article 7 ) * choosing the gender of a baby is illegal in Great Britain, and currently the United States has no regulations for the uses of PGD Able to screen for genetic disorders and remove them
Called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis*
In the future you may have more options
intelligence, athleticism, height, and physical attractiveness (how they compare to others) Alienation Isolation and alienation are two major themes of Frankenstein
Victor isolates himself
His monster is alone, being the only one of his kind
"And what was I? Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant; but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man." (Shelley, 102)
In a world of designer babies, it's clear that those with parents unable to afford DNA altering would be outcasts
"Moreover, not everyone will be able to afford this technology, which means those who are born naturally will be considered as social outcasts, and those with hereditary disorders will face the same destiny. While those who are born with such conditions are already considered as 'different', imagine the impact it will have on an artificially designed race with the same IQ and appearance, and how these 'different' human beings will be treated." (Article 8) Many major themes of Frankenstein - such as the concept of Playing God, a difference in design and outcome, and alienation - relate to certain aspects of designer babies, of which we are against. Embryos that do not fit certain criteria are thrown away
Embryos could have had long and fulfilled lives
Those who are pro-life have strong issues
Some see it as another form of abortion
Some religious people believe that altering a baby before its birth is Playing God
How they look isn't up to their parents to decide
Some worry a new class system could develop between "designer people" and regularly produced individuals
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