By: Brian Sikma
It appears that now you can have the “perfect” baby as far as appearances are concerned as a result of work done at a Los Angeles fertility clinic. Doctors at the clinic are using medical procedures that have been around for awhile they say to manipulate embryos and obtain the “right” combination of genes needed to get a specific hair or eye color or skin tone. The corresponding cost of this manipulation is the creation of more embryos than are normally necessary for IVF.
The unethical creation of multiple embryos for experimentation is not the only thing that is disturbing about this new practice. Encouraging parents to chose only those children that have the “perfect” combination of eye, hair and skin colors and tones overlooks the basic fact that a person’s identity is not bound up in the way they look. Perhaps we should not be surprised that designer babies are being promoted as a good thing when for years we’ve been led to believe that looks matter more than character, the outward appearance and attractiveness more than the inward person.
It wasn’t all that long ago that a man stood at the Lincoln memorial and declared that he longed for a day when his children would be judged by the content of their character not the color of their skin. It appears that now that we have the technology to determine the color of one’s skin, to some extent, we are interested in abandoning ethical moors and running down a steep incline that leads into a morass of unwanted embryos and nascent human beings discarded because they didn’t have the genetic make-up that would yield the desired look.
Since Darwin developed the theory that some members of the human race were less human because they were less evolved, elements of mankind have struggled in some form or another to eliminate less desirable looking human beings in favor of those that supposedly look better. That ghastly reasoning led in part to Hitler’s concentration camps and is being accepted in rough premise form at this fertility clinic in Los Angeles. Certainly the process is not as gruesome, but the ethical justifications behind each act are roughly parallel. We should not seek to create and sustain only those human beings that meet our personal standards of beauty or good looks.
A child is not a play thing of it’s parents, it is a separate human being and entitled to full dignity as such. This is not to say that parents do not have a right to raise that child the way they believe is proper, but it is to say that society should not view children as something to be toyed with and “designed” according to the whims of personal preference.