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Requiem of the Human Soul, by Jeremy Lent
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From the yellow brick road to the slippery slope… here is a sample of what the press is saying about what to expect in the future for designer babies… and what's happening right now!


Designer babies: creating the perfect child

"Bring your partner, grab a seat, pick up your baby catalog and start choosing.

Will you go for the brown hair or blond? Would you prefer tall or short? Funny or clever? Girl or boy? And do you want them to be a muscle-bound sports hero? Or a slender and intelligent book worm?

When you're done selecting, head to the counter and it's time to start creating your new child.

Does this sound like a scary thought?

With rapid advances in scientific knowledge of the human genome and our increasing ability to modify and change genes, this scenario of "designing" your baby could well be possible in the near future…

Furthermore, the developing technologies of genetic alteration open up a whole new set of possibilities -- which could result in so-called 'designer babies.'

The technique -- known as inheritable genetic modification -- modifies genes in eggs, sperm or early embryos and results in the altered genes being passed on to future generations."

Mike Steere ,  CNN
October 30th, 2008 - London, England


British Couples 'Choosing Baby Gender' at Clinics Abroad

"Prospective parents are being offered in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and a type of embryo screening called Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) which is outlawed in Britain except for women at high risk of having a baby with a genetic condition linked to gender.

The BBC said representatives of a fertility clinic in Turkey came to London to offer gender selection because of high demand from UK couples.

It filmed representatives of the Jinemed Center offering the procedure, which is also illegal in Turkey, at its Istanbul clinic.

The Turkish government, which is carrying out the inquiry into the Jinemed Center, has warned patients not to travel there for the treatment."

Alastair Jamieson ,  Daily Telegraph
October 30th, 2008


Now, They Go Abroad for Made-to-Order Son: Local docs help affluent couples in Maharashtra beat the law

"MUMBAI: Maharashtra is losing its daughters to sons pre-selected at in vitro fertilisation (IVF) laboratories abroad and delivered in India.

Instead of going through the risky and often guilt-ridden experience of having to abort a girl child, a rising number of fertile urban Maharashtrian couples are flocking to IVF centres in Thailand, Malaysia and the US, to pre-select the gender of their child before they get pregnant.

Scores of 'fertility' clinics in the state are helping affluent clients find a suitable clinic abroad that will ensure they have a son. In India pre-selection of gender is punishable under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.

"Many couples approach us for gender selection but we do not entertain them. Many of these desperate parents then fly out of the country," says Dr Hrishikesh Pai , a leading IVF specialist of the country who works at Lilavati hospital."

Mayank Tewari,  Daily News and Analysis August 16th, 2008

Click here to review some of the ethical issues on both sides of the debate about designer humans.


Special Deliveries: Are Designer Babies Arriving?

"Imagine ordering a baby like dinner: "We'll take the boy in the Greek-god model, but can you make him 6-foot-4 instead of 6 feet? And gimme the green eyes instead of the blue; ash-blond hair — a little curly, but not too much; olive complexion; 140 IQ; heavy on the fast-twitch muscles."

Sound like science fiction? Maybe not: The news that a California fertility clinic is offering prospective parents the opportunity to improve the odds of having children with preselected hair, skin and eye color has renewed the debate over "designer babies." Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society told NBC News that she fears Steinberg's clinic is starting society "down a slippery slope … We do need some rules of the road. What kind of society are we working toward? I think we want to get away from prejudices based on the way people look."

Dr. Jamie Grifo called the designer baby procedure "more hype than reality."

Grifo agreed that selecting for appearance is not a good idea. "I don't think this is what we should be doing," he said. "I don't think patients really want this."

He also said that being able to select for such traits as intelligence and athletic ability is far in the future, because those traits involve combinations of genes as well as other factors.

'The science is kind of there,' Grifo told Vieira. 'You can pick the possibility that you have a higher chance of having a blue-eyed, blond-haired baby. But things like intelligence, sports [and] athletic ability, those genes we don't know. We don't know how to select for them, and I don't think we'll be able to select for them.'"

Mike Celizic,

March 3, 2009

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