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TOK Presentation - Designer Babies

TOK PRESENTATION by Adi and Meghna - topic: ethics - designer babies

Adithya Ravi

on 13 March 2014

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Transcript of TOK Presentation - Designer Babies

Ethics of Designer Babies and Genetic Engineering - Adi
Contents of the Presentation
Pros and Cons
The Philosophers

In this presentation:
I will be explaining what genetical engineering is.
Its advantages and disadvantages
Exploring the knowledge issue in a TOK way.
Knowledge Issue
To what extent is it ethical for parents to genetically engineer their offspring?
Due to the advancements in the medical industry, it is now possible for parents to create an offspring that allows parents to select the desired traits.
What is a designer baby?
A designer baby is a baby genetically engineered in-vitro for specially selected traits, which can vary from lowered disease-risk to gender selection.
The baby will be less likely to carry various serious diseases.
The child can be stronger than the average child in terms of mentality, physicality and maturity.
Can create a saviour child
Helps couples who have fertility problems
Baby doesn't get a say in the matter
Damage to the gene pool
Some embryos are destroyed in the process
No uniqueness
Gap in society
Culture-Gender imbalance

Bentham believed in utilitarianism, and that to do an action we needed to understand what was ethically right or not.
In its original form, this subject is concerned with the human aim of having virtue of character, or in other words having excellent and well-chosen habits.
“Act only according to the maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become universal law.”

Ways of knowing
Perspective, Reason or Emotion?
These three things are interlinked.
Areas of knowledge
Natural Sciences
Human sciences
-Genetic Engineering is only acceptable if used for medical purposes, such as preventing diseases
-Even then, it depends on the situation

Example 1
“Adam Nash was the world's first known designer baby, born by the revolutionary 'preimplantation process' in the year 2000. Scientists genetically selected his embryo, so that he would possess the right cells to save his dying sister's life. His sister suffered from Fanconi's anemia (blood disorder), and mostly the chances of Adam getting that disorder was also very high. Out of a total of 30 embryos, an embryo free from Fanconi's anemia was chosen. When Adam was born, the blood cells from his umbilical cord, were transplanted into his sister's body, which saved her life. In no way was Adam subjected to any kind of medical procedures to save his sister's life, thus, Adam was in no way affected. “

Ethical issues
-The disease could have been passed on to Adam too, causing him to suffer
-Did the parents want Adam?
-Adam unable to give consent
-Saved his sisters life
-No consequences

In the parents’ point of view, the process was worth it, and the means justified the end.
Their emotions for the daughter might’ve clouded their judgement. They may not have thought with rationality and instead just took any measure to save their daughter’s life.

Example 2
“...But the implications of human genetic manipulation go further than choosing green eyes. In England, deaf activists protested a 2007 bill that allowed for genetic selection only against certain diseases and disabilities, and prohibit selection for them, claiming deaf parents should have the right to select a deaf child if hearing parents have the right to select a hearing child...”

Ethical issues
-Creating a deaf child
-Parents' right to decide; the child wouldn't know what he was missing

The parent’s seem to be using
more than rationality, as they are thinking more about themselves and less about the impact the disability will have on their child.

However we cannot say anything because we don’t know what it is like to be them, or their
on the issue.

Example 3
In July 2006, Lindsay and Clive went for a consultation at Bourn Hall Clinic, Cambridge. Clive had a semen analysis which showed he had a high number of antibodies in his sperm, causing them to clump together or ‘aggulate’, reducing the chance of conception…Now knowing what was causing their problems, Lindsay and Clive started their first cycle of IVF…
…In November 2007 Lindsay and Clive began another fresh cycle which produced 19 eggs, seven of which were successfully fertilised and developed to the blastocyst stage. Two embryos were transferred to her uterus and in January 2008, Lindsay was pregnant with twins...
…The embryos that grew into babies Bryony, Imogen and Eliza were all fertilised at the same time, so the siblings are all triplets, with Eliza being born three years later than her elder sisters!


Ethical issue
-Embryos destroyed
-Child was wanted

- the process did no harm to the designer baby itself, therefore using IVF may be justified.
Emotion and perspective – the parents are happy and they believe they did it for the right reasons.
Justified true belief.

Thank you for watching!
The process
Applying the three theories
Full transcript