You’ve decided to have a baby, but you and your partner want to choose the baby’s characteristics. You want a tall, smart baby with brown hair and curls. But can a couple design their baby appearance? Yes, it is possible, although it has its limitations. When you use products like a home DNA test kit, laboratories analyze the strand that makes up all of your DNA. From there, they can extract the information needed to perform the test. Your DNA is similar to lego pieces in which different types of information are stored. For example, to get the results of a DNA gender test, the laboratory must analyze the chromosomes to discover if your baby is a male or a female. DNA contains all the information that defines the phenotype and mental characteristics of each human being. When you modify the DNA, you alter how people look. In this case, a baby can be brought into the world according to the specifications of the parents.
How does it work?
PGD, or Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, is a method used in vitro insemination to prevent certain hereditary diseases from being transmitted from the parents to the baby. In the same way, a geneticist can alter the DNA within the sperm and egg, forming a “pre-engineered” baby. This technology is not precise because it does not always result in babies being born with all the characteristics requested by the parents. Likewise, there are characteristics that the parents cannot alter because that could lead to genetic problems for the baby. Genetic “mutations” or changes in the DNA that occur from parent to child often serve to improve the immune system of people, so that they can cope with new viruses. This explains why some people manage to resist viruses, while others do not.
What about the moral aspect?
With every technological advance, there will always be people who disagree. When it first became possible for couples to choose the characteristics of their babies, many people saw it as an immoral and unnatural act. Especially those who had a religious affiliation, because they said that it was not an act approved by God. However, if human beings have the potential to improve every generation, why not do it? While there are probably vain couples who want to have a “super child,” that’s not the point. It’s about bringing babies into the world free of hereditary diseases, who are capable of developing physical and mental skills that will enable them to be productive members of society.