Posted by: DD | March 4, 2009

I SHALL NAME HIM “LOUIS VUITTON”

Have you seen the headlines that are making a hullabaloo about “designer babies”?

Huh. I’m still waiting for the moment I feel shocked and outraged as most will and do.

Selecting desirable traits during IVF/PGD has been going on since PGD has been available. Sure, it’s not used to narrow down a potential baby’s physical traits like being blond and blue-eyed. That’s being done when couples select their donor, whether it’s egg or sperm. Or hey, when two people of opposite sex who are actually both fair-haired and light-eyed actually create their own baby without IVF!

We got our blue-eyed, blond-haired baby. Of course it was purely coincidental and might be because I went down to the street kiosk and got myself a knock-off Designer Baby (made of genuine pleather, I assure you) by some fast-talking charlatan. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

Selection of  “desirable” traits via ART is certainly nothing new. When Mr. DD and I first were faced with using donor sperm, we both knew that we wanted to find someone who was similar to Mr. DD in height, weight, eye color, hair color, and yes, ancestry. When we then traveled the donor egg road, even though our ability to select characteristics was extremely limited, we had a preference then, too.

Isn’t it what all parents want: a child that looks a certain way or has certain abilities? One of the physicians interviewed stated that parents may end up putting unrealistic expectations on children that they selected to be either more athletic or more intelligent, but ended up with something other. I can tell you from experience that while I had hoped XBoy would have ended up with his father’s athleticism and my mental abilities – albeit limited on both parts – he did not on either front. Much like I had hoped he’d have ended up with Mr. DD’s green eyes and wavy hair and my build. Again, not so much. But do I love him less? In fact, I love him more because I learn so much each time we discover something new.

I would also have to argue that man has been doing this long before he even became man. If all cavewomen had been a little more particular about their men hundreds of thousands of years ago (or six thousand, depending on your view of evolution), we wouldn’t have men today with hairy butts and fuzzy backs, and the cursed unibrow would have gone the way of dinosaurs (when Jesus was taming them). Trust me, my ancestors must not have been too particular in their own selection of mates.

These Designer Babies will be geared towards the rich, as stated in the article. So what? If nothing else, we all know that a child can be given literally everything in their young lives necessary to become productive assets in today’s society and still end up splashed across the front page of some tabloid passed out in their own vomit with no panties on or dead from an accidental overdose. It’s not like in 500 years Designer Babies will become mute and child-like while the loud, ugly sub-humans live underground feeding on their tasty white flesh. And if it does? Obviously then their plan will have backfired.

morlock-eloi

Those with the cash can go right ahead and put in their orders with absolutely no guarantee that they will get what they want in a baby (much less even get pregnant (unless they are using Nadja’s miracle RE)), but ultimately any children are judged not on their appearance or physical prowess, but by whether or not they are decent human beings.

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Responses

  1. “but ultimately any children are judged not on their appearance or physical prowess, but by whether or not they are decent human beings.”

    Wouldn’t *that* be nice?

    I always hoped the kids would have Joe’s beautiful hazel eyes, but they got my baby blues instead.

  2. That’s an interesting way of putting it–people just want to chance to do in ART what people who don’t use ART get to do by selecting their mates, plus maybe a little more specific since they get to make some extra choices.

  3. I’m really bothered that doctors are even offering this option. Screening out disease is one thing but ordering up a baby based on physical characteristics is just a little dystopic for me. Now if we could select embryos based on their propensity to say, sleep through the night from birth or be potty training wizards then I’m all for that.

  4. We thought about doing PGD with the Mini. Not from a designer baby standpoint. Maybe choosing the sex, although, I was disappointed with having a boy at all. If they could however, say, eradicate ADD from my gene pool, that would be something I’d be willing to pay for.

  5. I still would like to know where the clinics are that do this. We did PGD for Dh’s balanced translocation. Our clinic wouldn’t even test gender for us. Dh jokingly asked about it and they said that any reputable clinic wouldn’t do that if there wasn’t a medical reason behind it. I guess you can buy anything if you have enough money!


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