I'm fascinated by this story of the L.A. fertility clinic that offered parents the option to choose their babies' hair, eye, and skin color... and then quickly backed off, at least for now. On one hand, there's the argument that freedom is freedom. If I can decide how many kids to have, when, etc., why not also be able to decide what color eyes she has? On the other hand, most freedoms have their limits, for moral or legal reasons (or both). WIRED has a nice back and forth on the issue today. Here's what James Hughes, the transhumanist author, had to say:
If you think that people have a right to choose how many children they have, or the partners they have them with — "I love you, but you're just too short, or too ugly" — that's a procreative choice.
If I've got a dozen embryos I could implant, and the ones I want to implant are the green-eyed ones, or the blond-haired ones, that's an extension of choices we think are perfectly acceptable — and restricting them a violation of our procreative autonomy.
I want to see a society in which parents can say, I want my kids to have the best possible options in life. That might include getting rid of obesity genes. Every child should be a loved child, but there is no virtue in accident.
Mary Darnovsky with the Center for Genetics and Society sounds a warning...
It's the question of equality. We'd endorse a set of societal and commercial dynamics that would lead us into a new world of inequality and discrimination. Just as privilege accrues to those with privilege, the same would be true of genetically modified children of existing elites.
Any thoughts from you parents and soon-to-be parents? Where's the line when it comes to choosing options for your baby?