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Designer Babies:Method and Ethical IssuesBY: Amna Adnan | Category: Genetics | Submitted: 2010-06-06 22:51:55
Article Summary: "Designer babies is the new technique which scientists are developing these days. After some years, it will be able for the parents to choose the sex of the child..."
Biotechnology has always come up with surprises and always has designed such techniques which give benefit to the mankind. Genetic engineering is one of the techniques of biotechnology which is creating such methods which can totally change the life of humans. Some genetic engineering methods are successful and some are still going through experimental stages.
One of the many successes of genetic engineering is the designer baby. Few years back, it was impossible to make a baby using genetic engineering techniques. But now this thought has been possible and scientists have successfully made a baby. Baby is designed by genetic engineering and his/her genetic makeup is changed through artificial selection under the in vitro fertilization. Through this method presence or absence of particular genes can be ensured. Designer baby is not a term used by scientists but journalists have given the name designer baby after the birth of a baby named Jessica. She is the daughter of Monique and Scott Collins whose wish for a daughter came true when Monique gave birth to a baby girl Jessica, who was born after using the genetic engineering method called genetic prescreening at a fertility clinic in Fairfax.
Method of Making Designer baby:-
Designer baby is made in in vitro fertilization. There are certain steps which involve in making the designer baby.
First the hormones of a woman are taken which are responsible for making the egg. During the menstrual cycle, a woman produces one egg per month. This egg is removed from the ovary of the woman with the help of a special needle. Then this egg is fertilized in the laboratory. Fertilization occurs only when sperm enters the egg. This fertilized egg is allowed to grow for two days. During this time, the fertilized egg divides into eight cells which are identical to each other. Now this is the embryo. Scientists remove one of the fertilized embryos and test it for various diseases like Cystic fibrosis and Down's syndrome. Genetic diseases are tested by using the technique of biotechnology that is polymerase chain reaction. Many copies are made of the DNA part which is taken from the embryonic cells and then these copies are observed for any mutations or genetic disorders. Using a sequencing machine, the DNA copies are run through and if the genetic disorder appears, those defected genes can be replaced with the healthy genes. Monique and Scott used this technique and Monique gave birth to a healthy beautiful daughter.
In this technique, doctors and scientists can be able to determine the sex of the child. After some years, it will be possible for the parents to have the children of their own wish. If some parents want a boy first, they will let the doctor know and the doctor will fertile the egg in laboratory that parents will give birth to a boy, same is the case with the daughters. It is because, woman contains only X chromosomes and man has one x and one Y chromosome. It is the man which determines the sex of the child. If Y chromosome combines with the X chromosome of the woman then woman will give birth to a boy and if the X chromosome of the woman combines with X chromosome of the man, then it will be a girl.
Designer babies have some ethical issues also. Some people say that the private life of the couple will become public if a couple's child initially develops in the laboratory. As this technique is still new that is why, some people oppose it because they think that the rich will be able to take advantage of this method and their children will born healthy but poor parents' children will still born with genetic or other diseases. It is possible that may be the body of the child does no accept the healthy genes which are inserted in its body in place of defected genes. Though these techniques can advance the IQ, intelligence and personality of the person but it will be costly and will create distance between the individuals in the society.
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