Perfect babies. Part 1, Babies by design.
About this work
This series examines advances in assisted reproductive technologies and the ethical problems associated with this rapidly developing branch of medical science. Part One is concerned with sex selection, pre- implantation diagnosis and the prospect - already possible - of purchasing genetic advantages for the prospective child. Already, children have been 'designed' for enhanced health and intellect. This aspect of gene manipulation is compared with gene therapy in which research is under way at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, where Prof. Duncan Geddes hopes to administer a gene to patients to counteract cystic fibrosis. He draws a distinction between gene therapy to treat illness and genetic manipulation to form an embryo to meet parents' precise expectations. The use of such techniques, by those who can afford it, could lead to a genetic 'aristocracy' while the ultimate intervention, germ line engineering, would carry with it control of human evolution. Scientists giving their views on the consequences of these developments include Prof. Ronald Ericsson (inventor of the Ericsson sperm selection method), Prof. Robert Winston (Hammersmith Hospital, London), Prof. Lee Silver (Princeton University, U.S.), Prof. Stephen Hawking and Dr. Tom Shakespeare.
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