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The Ethical Dilemma of Designer Babies

People have been having babies since...well, since forever, but it was in 1978 that the practice too a huge leap forward. This was the year Louise Brown was born, becoming the first baby born using in-vitro fertilization. At the time, it was hugely controversial - a debate that has only gotten broader in the ensuing years. IVF babies are one thing - a miracle given to parents who are denied the joy of natural conception - but is it the same thing if one chooses to have a blue-eyed boy with dark hair, who will stand 190cm tall with a medium build and have a natural gift for sports?

With modern technology, doctors and scientists are playing a role of God. Many see the benefit these technologies have in helping infertile couple conceive or to avoid having a sick child. However, some continue to push the envelope, not only to make sure their baby is healthy, but selecting gender, skin color, eye color, hair color, IQ, height, the avoidance of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, cancer, and more. 

This month BkkSci is very happy to have Dr. Somjate Manipalviratn, Obstetrician and Gynecologist who specializes in infertility and reproductive endocrinology. During his talk, he will cover pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, the implications it has on the field of obstetrics, the pros and cons of using this technology as it becomes cheaper and available to more and more people, and the debate on just how far we should go down this road. 

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  • Miall J.

    Interesting and thought provoking

    1 · May 1, 2014

  • Krib S.

    Wished we had more lively on the topic more.

    1 · April 30, 2014

  • Saranit V.

    Sorry. Won't be able to make it. :(

    April 30, 2014

  • Urai S.

    Poor me! I'm so sorry that I can't be there, I still working at my office (Rangsit area/ north of BKK) right now (urgent duty). Hope I can join and see all of you some other time.

    April 30, 2014

  • Andrew S.

    I regret that I am unable to attend because of an irreconcilable conflict. The topic is of exceptional interest to me. In 1973, after earning a masters degree in psychology/behavior genetics, I elected to drop out of Ph.D. studies, because I could then see that at some point in the future the kind of knowledge that I was seeking might make it possible to perform breeding programs, or gene substitutions, in humans to create new human breeds deemed to be more desirable in terms of behavioral traits. I thought that, like atomic energy and gmo food crops, such knowledge was too dangerous to pursue, that it would be used by irresponsible (as they all are) authorities for purposes more harmful than benign, and that even with the best of intentions, collateral effects could be disastrous. I hope I am able to drop in late (7 PM always seems too early for me!)

    April 30, 2014

  • pascal c.

    'Designer Babies:' Patented Process Could Lead to Selection of Genes for Specific Traits
    Frontiers of Genetic Enhancement Continue to Advance

    April 17, 2014

  • pascal c.

    'Designer babies': the ultimate privileged elite?
    A US baby born via IVF and genetically screened could open the door to wealthy parents selecting for ideal traits in their kids

    April 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    We shouldn't be encouraging people to have babies at all; it is causing anthropogenic climate change. The human population will decline, if not by design then by war & starvation.

    April 14, 2014

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