Designer Babies Are Here, and Not Necessarily Queer

girlblondeblue

It was never a matter of if, but when, and now a fertility clinic right here in the United States has done it: Produced a designer baby. With new technology, Los Angeles’ LA Fertility Institutes goes beyond letting parents choose the sex of their newborn, but also eye and hair color of their baby boy or girl. They say they’ve already got clients growing designer fetuses inside them, and they’ll be born next year. And we all know where this could eventually lead: Allowing parents to choose their kids’ sexual orientation before biology and chance have an opportunity to step in.

It’s all done through selective pregnancy, where the fertility clinic’s doctors test a cell for certain characters, and discard it if it doesn’t live up to mom and dad’s desires. Noting that the practice is illegal in the United Kingdom, the BBC reports:

The science is based on a lab technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

This involves testing a cell taken from a very early embryo before it is put into the mother’s womb.

Doctors then select an embryo free from rogue genes – or in this case an embryo with the desired physical traits such as blonde hair and blue eyes – to continue the pregnancy, and discard any others.

Dr Steinberg said couples might seek to use the clinic’s services for both medical and cosmetic reasons.

For example, a couple might want to have a baby with a darker complexion to help guard against a skin cancer if they already had a child who had developed a melanoma. But others might just want a boy with blonde hair.

His clinic is offering this cosmetic selection to patients already having genetic screening for abnormal chromosome conditions in their embryos.

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29 Comments

  • Alan down in Florida

    Downright scary. Children being bred to be designer accessories.

  • Lieven

    This is shameful and should be banned.

  • blake

    It’s one thing to use genetic testing to prevent horrific suffering from genetic diseases but it’s another to use it for a eugenics program to create Barbie & Ken dolls.

  • Bob R

    This is the stuff of science fiction, and not good science fiction. Designer children? Genetic engineering to make them bigger, brighter, stronger and perhaps eventually programmed to think and perform as instructed? Nothing but good, white, blond haired, blue eyed supermen? Dr. Mengele would be proud. This should be outlawed before it even gets started. It seems to me it’s not only immoral, but very, very dangerous. Too much tampering with nature can have disastrous results. I hope I won’t be around to see the monsters this genetic science experiment may produce.

  • ME

    “What’s the matter, Damien? It’s just a church…”

  • Larry

    GATTACA…

  • Mike

    Wow, who woulda thunk that Hitler would have such a strong comeback–and just to think, here in the good ol’ US of A.

    Tragic

  • mrbill

    I just feel this will not come to a good end is just scares me

  • Aaron

    Oh, brave new world…

  • Matt

    If this can be used to make children healthy and not gay, I support it. I wish my parents had this so I could have grown up normal.

  • shivadog

    Matt, you wouldn’t have grown up “normal”, you would never have existed.

  • Condenasty

    This has always worried me, back in the recesses of my mind. As gay people we would love to find absolute genetic proof that homosexuality is an inherent trait, and thus end that debate for good. But, I could totally see it used as a screening marker for doctors and parents….Downs, Sickle Cell, homosexuality….scary. We could eventually become extinct if not vastly decreased in numbers.

  • Damon

    Gay people completely disappearing? Oh well. If its inevitable then I guess I’ll enjoy my time as part of the last generation.

  • Nick

    Most people wouldn’t be able to afford this, so I doubt gays would become “extinct.”

  • Condenasty

    Perhaps I was a bit overdramatic (quel surprise), but you get my point. It isn’t right and over time it would become more affordable, as a part of prenatal care. So yes, it could impact us.

  • blake

    @Mike:

    Actually, Hitler got a lot of his ideas from the U.S. eugenics programs of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Many of the most famous and powerful American supported eugenics.

    In the U.S., many Americans believed breeding a superior race of white Americans and both encouraged the breeding of the right kind of whites while legalizing the sterilization of undesirable whites and minorities.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of forced sterilization. Up until the 1970s, some states still forced sterilization on people.

    http://hnn.us/articles/1551.html

    “Since the spring 2002, state governments in Virginia, Oregon, and South Carolina, have published statements of apology to tens of thousands of patients, mostly poor women, who were sterilized against their will in state hospitals between the 1900s and 1960s. In March 2003, Governor Davis and Attorney General Lockyer added their regrets for the injustices committed in the name of “race betterment.” Now, the California Senate is considering a resolution, authored by Senator Dede Alpert (D-San Diego), which ‘expresses profound regret over the state’s past role in the eugenics movement” and “urges every citizen of the state to become familiar with the history of the eugenics movement, in the hope that a more educated and tolerant populace will reject any similar abhorrent pseudoscientific movement should it arise in the future.’ “

  • rogue dandelion

    luckily, there is as yet no gene, or gene complex, that correlates with homosexuality directly.
    Another thing to put you guys at ease, The pope, and most right to lifers, consider this abortion/murder… or at least they have until now, so those most likely to degay their children would not necessarily be using this method.
    Also, congress passed an anti-genetic discrimination bill—which would call in the legality of this practice altogether.

  • Smokey Martini

    First off, doctors have yet to find a gay gene, despite speculative and sensationalist reports that state otherwise. So, fellas: you can rest assured that homosexuality will be alive and well in the decades to come. Let’s leave homosexuality out of this discussion for now and focus on what is REALLY at issue (no thanks to Queerty’s shoddy reporting).

    There are two things Queerty has omitted from this report and which are crucial to the discussion and the facts:

    1. The problem at the moment is not whether doctors can predict the physical characteristics and physical conditions of a child’ as it stands, such a procedure has YET to be perfected. Rather, the problem rests on the wastefulness of the procedure, which produces a number of embryos, the majority of which are rejected in the hopeful search of the ‘perfect one’. As Dr Gillian Lockwood, a UK fertility expert and member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ ethics committee comments:

    If it gets to the point where we can decide which gene or combination of genes are responsible for blue eyes or blonde hair, what are you going to do with all those other embryos that turn out like me to be ginger with green eyes?” (emphasis added)

    Similarly, the website of the clinic that is offering this service also acknowledges that the procedures is by no means perfect and does not necessarily provide desired results. In other words, the procedures is still predicated, to a large extent, on chance. According to the website (which the BBC reported, but Queerty oh-so-conveniently omitted): “Not all patients will qualify for these tests and we make NO guarantees as to ‘perfect prediction’ of things such as eye colour or hair colour.

    Indeed, babies aren’t babies forever. Even if doctors can ‘predict’ in the future the eye and hair colour of babies before they are born, biological characteristics DO change with time, under environmental influences, and often with unexpected results. So far, the procedure (which has been used on humans since the 1980s)┬áhas been focused on the children’s sex, mainly as a way to prevent problems related to the X-chromosome. And, while the cosmetic implications of the procedure are only now beginning to surface, it is important we act quickly with our local representatives and medical organizations for the development of an ethics surrounding this procedures. And, of course, for the development of laws to prevent its misuse.

  • Sebbe

    This was inevitable and the banning and enforcement of said ban inevitable as well. Of course the uber-rich will always find a way around. Or anyone who can afford a plane ticket out of the country that has the desire I suppose.

  • scott

    GATTACA rules!!!

  • w00t

    wow can we make them more obedient, less noisy and smarter too??
    if that’s the case than i’m in :p
    but seriously, y can’t ppl just be happy w/ the way they are??
    i’m a petite n wouldn’t want to be any other way despite wat society may say.

  • JJJJ

    I thought gay guys all believed in the reproductive rights of women, and that it’s for the woman to decide ?! At least that’s the average gay man’s stance on abortion. Why is this different?

  • Alex

    To build on what Nick said, when new stuff like this comes along, I’m always skeptical of the dire predictions. The truth is, no matter what advances may come, I can’t foresee a time when any less than 90% of reproduction doesn’t happen the old-fashioned way. It’s free, it’s fun (at least for the large majority) and most people us are born with half the equipment.

    Of course the article mentions of blond hair hand blue eyes to raise the specter of Nazism, but the truth is these racialist ideas have been discredited, even if institutional racism is still with us. If people really want white babies, they’ll do what they’ve always done and breed with other white people. But the truth is people have stopped caring, and that’s where progress is coming from. The same is starting to be true for gays.

  • mufu

    COOL! I’ll take one from the new Spring collection!

  • ew.

    If this means less ugly people in the world, im all for it!

  • Sebbe

    @mufu – buy one get one

  • mr. razzberry

    this is unabashedly eugenicist…

    i mean haven’t they learn from the mistakes of pedigreed dog inbreeding? they’re trying to narrow the genes to create the look that they prefer, and in the end it cannot be good for the gene pool…look at the research findings on the dogs breeds, most of them have such limited genetic pool that they ought to be labeled as an endangered animals…not to mention the amplified chances of diseases inherited…

    besides, this is very unethical. not to mention, a possible separation of caste – the genetically modified beautiful (and even atheletic prowess)people, and the randomly created individuals who are created the natural way…very ‘gattaca’….

  • Phoenix (The Angry Nelly One)

    Yesterday my comment got eaten so here goes again.

    This is a total fraud. These people have come up with a way to rip off bigots and it’s hilarious.

    Pay close attention to what the good doctor says:

    “…results are best for parents whose gene pools aren’t “diluted” with other races.”

    Nobody’s gene pool is undiluted.

    So the suckers come in demanding perfect little Boyz From Brazil, the doctor will charge them for all kinds of “tests” and “procedures” that aren’t real. Then when the kid comes out ordinary and not a perfect little Aryan Master the Doc will tell the parents, “I can only do so much. It must of been rogue genes. One of you must have an impure blood line.” Naturally, the parents will go ape-shit on each other. Mom will blame dad for having mixed blood. Daddy will blame mom for being a “mongrel”. The good doctor (who’s last name is sorta Jewish) will laugh all the way to the bank.

    If the ‘rents actually have a kid that’s “perfect”, it will be because 1.)random luck 2.) Most parents think their kids are perfect.

    Seriously, seriously funny. The perfect way to rip off bigots.

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