New Genetic Technology Means Parents Could 'Design' Their Ideal Baby Sooner Than You Think

babyThe future is officially now, because a company recently patented their technology to make it possible for parents to choose certain traits and characteristics of their babies. As in, want your baby to have blue eyes? No problem! Want a kid who grows up to be over 5"7"? They've got you covered! Hoping your child will be captain of the football team? Hope no more!

Well, it's kind of like that.

Consumer genomics company 23andMe technically has the technology available to make custom-ordered babies possible, but that's not what they're going to do with it, because, in layman's terms, it's a little too sci-fi-y for most people's taste. The technology is going to be used to help couples get a better idea about the probability that their babies would inherit a variety of traits, including mutations that may lead to certain diseases, like cancer. "The company never pursued the concepts discussed in the patent beyond our Family Traits Inheritance Calculator," 23andMe said in a statement, "Nor do we have any plans to do so."

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But. This is the first patent that's, for lack of a better phrase, a designer baby maker. What's to say another company out there won't coin something similar? Would you want that?

As much of a planner that I am (seriously, huge planner over here), I could never bring myself to use technology like this to get my "dream baby." Because, as cheesy as it sounds, my dream baby is the one that comes to me naturally. Being surprised is part of the fun.

Before I found out the sex of my baby, I thought my daughter was a boy. I was convinced she'd be born bald, and she was born with a full head of dark brown hair. I was positive she'd be around 6 pounds, and she was almost 8. And every day she surprises me with a look, an interest, or something she says -- and it's awesome. She's not a mini-me or a selection of characteristics I find to be admirable or interesting. She's herself. And, to me, that's a million times better than a person I designed.

If given the opportunity, of course I would want my child to have a low risk for diseases -- what parent wouldn't? But something about messing around with genetics gets me a little nervous for other diseases and ailments to come into play since it's so unnatural.

Right now, this isn't something we need to struggle with, because, at this point, 23andMe isn't selling any designer baby makers. And let's hope it stays that way. As Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, said: "It would be so irresponsible of 23andMe to actually offer a product or service based on this patent."

Would you want to hand-pick the traits of your baby?


Image via Gary Robson/Flickr

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claud... claudiaj1218

their intentions might not be for people to actually create designer babies, but you know that there are going to be some rich and famous people out there that are going to get wind of this and are going to say, "okay, i want a designer baby." they might initially tell them "no", but then they'll make an offer to give them whatever money they may need to fund their research or what have you and then they'll say "yes." then everybody's going to want it. but like they said, there is a high risk of deformation and other diseases. but i guess some people won't let that stop them.

Smoke... Smokeygirl

^i was just thinking of Gattaca. Using this technology will lead down a path we don't want! Also, genetically "perfect" doesn't mean you will be happy.

Alexandra Infante

Ewww please don't do this to future people. That would be so irresponsible and how snd for the kids. They can't have anything of their own. It's all predetermined. Their hidden mystery that they deeply know is their own, isn't. :( sad

WowIl... WowIllbeamom11

No, never would I want a designer baby, my daughter surprises me every day and i can't wait to meet my son in December. I know he'll surprise me as well. It saddens how this technology will no doubt be abused, as previous commenter has said.

Tina Goff

That's not what this technology is for, 23andMe stated that they have no intention of ever using this technology for 'designer babies', and yet that's the ONLY THING you focus on?  How about writing about all of the genetic disorders that can be prevented?  Or the fact that knowing your future child is at risk for a genetic disability can help parents be prepared and informed before their child is born, giving themselves and their child a better chance at a happy future. Oh No, you can't possibly do THAT!  That wouldn't be dramatic enough!  Better to jump on the sci-fi scare tactic, 'technology is bad', Chicken Little band wagon...because that's what gets clicks.

Katha... Katharine205

Nope, God is a far better designer than I ever could be.  There's one thing that bugs me here though - the whole predicting risks for disabilities/diseases thing.  I wonder how many healthy babies will be terminated because there's a chance that they could have a disability and/or disease?  Look how many babies are terminated now because of Down's Syndrome...

Vanessa Scarbrough

Yes, let's get rid of all the babies who might be born with a disability or genetic disorder. Oh, and while we're at it, let's make them all have blonde hair and blue eyes. That way, we'd have a perfect world full of perfect children. Oh wait, hasn't someone tried that already? Seriously though, I realize that is not the purpose of the technology and that in most cases it will not be used to create "designer babies" but there is an abundance of wealthy narcissists who would leap at the opportunity to create their perfect little mini-me. Sick.

Armym... Armymom134

I already have 4 perfect babies, no need for science to stick their noses in it.

kysma... kysmama08

My babies are not genetically engineered and they are beautiful and perfect to me. If you're going to do this, you have something wrong with you, imo.

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