Bio-Ethicist Says Creating Designer Babies Is A Moral Obligation

Monday, August 20, 2012

Designer Baby
 
Ethics
Genetically screening our offspring to make them better people is just ‘responsible parenting’, claims an eminent Oxford academic, The Telegraph reports. Professor Julian Savulescu said that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a “moral obligation” as it makes them grow up into “ethically better children”.
In the film Gattaca, people no longer struggle with the ethics of designer babies.   Now genetically screening our offspring to make them better people is just ‘responsible parenting’, claims an eminent Oxford academic, The Telegraph reports.

Professor Julian Savulescu said that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a “moral obligation” as it makes them grow up into “ethically better children”.

Savulescu, the director of the Uehiro Center For Practical Ethics at Oxford University, claimed in a recent issue of Reader's Digest that by "screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence" in fetuses, society would be a better place. Parents, he argues, have a responsibility to society to select for "ethically better children," likening these screening for the ones already in place for Down's syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
He said that science is increasingly discovering that genes have a significant influence on personality – with certain genetic markers in embryo suggesting future characteristics.

In the end, he said that "rational design" would help lead to a better, more intelligent and less violent society in the future.

"Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?" wrote Prof Savulescu, the Uehiro Professor in practical ethics.So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice.

"To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality.

"Indeed, when it comes to screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children.

"They are, after all, less likely to harm themselves and others."

"If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring — rather than consigning them to the natural lottery — then we should."

Savulescu is no stranger to controversial comments. He recently argued in the New York Times that doping should be allowed in the Olympics because the ban makes illegal drugs more unsafe.

What do you think? Do we owe it to humanity to make more ethical babies?