«Designer babies» – en voksende etisk hodepine
In early February, the Fertility Institutes created enormous controversy by announcing that they planned to offer PGD services allowing for the selection of eye and hair color for children. Steinberg was quoted by the BBC as saying, “I would not say this is a dangerous road. It’s an uncharted road.” As a scientist experienced in PGD/IVF techniques, Steinberg was aware that the technology to select physical traits in humans has been available for years, but no one would touch it. “It’s time for everyone to pull their heads out of the sand,” Steinberg said. Transhumanists and other fans of procreative freedom were excited by the news.
The backlash was widespread. Quoted in the New York Daily News on February 23, the Pope himself condemned the “obsessive search for the perfect child.” The pontiff complained, “A new mentality is creeping in that tends to justify a different consideration of life and personal dignity.” The roman Catholic Church objects to all applications of PGD because they invariably involve the destruction of blastocysts.
On his blog Secondhand Smoke, conservative bioethicist Wesley J. Smith, who has co-authored four books with Ralph Nader, wrote, “We are constantly told that the right of a woman to reproduce is absolute, including getting pregnant, aborting if the pregnancy is ever unwanted, and now, genetically engineering progeny to order. But no ‘right’ is absolute. The time has long since passed to put some regulatory controls over the wild, wild west of IVF.”