Is Genetically Engineering Babies Ethical?


When I first became aware of genetically engineering babies, I was in complete disbelief because of how unethical the idea of manipulating a child’s characteristics and appearance sounded. Then, it was explained that the original intent of the advanced technology was to prevent and/or decrease the likelihood of a child from developing or passing down genetic diseases such as down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, etc. However, individuals have been taking advantage of this new technology to construct desired babies. Babies are not objects; they are living organisms that hold the same human rights as any other individual. I personally believe it is immoral to maneuver a child’s appearance, however, other’s tend to disagree.

How it works:

Scientists manipulate a child’s outcome by editing/adjusting the fertilized egg. In an article published by Sy Mukherjee, the first child ever born using genetic engineering is discussed and analyzed. The baby boy’s parents utilized the egg of the mother, sperm of the father, and an additional egg given by a donor. The couple decided to do this in order to avoid their child from obtaining a deadly disorder carried by the mother, known as Leigh syndrome. The null hypothesis is that the likelihood of the child from possessing Leigh syndrome will not decrease nor increase when the embryos are fiddled with, and the alternative hypothesis states that the baby will be completely rid of any possible genetic diseases.



The experimenters concluded that the risk of the child from developing Leigh syndrome was significantly reduced due to the mitochondrial DNA being removed from the mother’s cell. According to another expert known as Dr. Keith Blauer, the rate of success for creating females is greater than that of males. He points out that parents tend to choose the gender of the new child based off of the gender of the other sibling(s). In the study discussed above, the genders of the children the couple conceived before the genetically created child was born remains unknown. The only information the reader is given is that the children were deceased after a few years due to the Leigh disease passed down by the mother.

General Concerns for the future:

A general concern for the future is that those who are of high social rank will abuse the system, and turn our world into a totalitarian environment. The wealthy will aim to design “perfect” children whom exceed the looks and brains of children who classify in lesser economic statuses.  In some countries, genetically engineering babies has already been banned due to the threat of a dystopian world. In addition, scientists fear that people will begin misusing the CRISPR, and look at it as a chance to create the perfect child.

Bottom line: Scientists cannot predict whether toying with embryo’s will harm babies more than it will help them. Even if a massive amount of well conducted studies are set into place and analyzed, it is still unable to be determined whether or not there will be positive results.




3 thoughts on “Is Genetically Engineering Babies Ethical?

  1. Wendy Sun

    I feel like this topic is very controversial and there is no clear right answer and there may be no answer at all. Babies have no ability to choose whether or not they want to be taller, have blue eyes, or gay. I find it hypocritical that humans genetically engineer or inter-breed dog species without batting an eye, but when it comes to our own we raise the ethical questions. Why is this necessary???

  2. Nathan O'brien

    Wow! What a great article! It’s great that you brought in material from class such as null and alternative hypotheses. I think in the future we will be able to choose our babies traits rather easily. Technology and society are advancing at astronomical rates. I am however strongly opposed to altering a babies traits to make it look like how you want it to look. Having kids is not like going to subway and picking whether you want pickles or olives, or maybe both. In my opinion, children’s genetic makeup should never be altered. I really like your point about how the rich would get a huge advantage because they would be able to afford to make their baby smart. I am sorry but the idea of altering babies really bothers me. I enjoyed reading your article and I think you did an excellent job explaining this issue. I was reading about some of the problems and concerns scientists are having about this topic on forbes.

  3. Taryn S Linker

    This article posed as an extremely interesting read. I completely understand both sides of the argument that the writer presents in this article. I believe that genetically engineered babies is ethical, in the sense that it benefits the child who is being “engineered.” By saying this, I mean that it helps to reduce the likelihood of deadly diseases, such as the Leigh syndrome, in children that are to be born. This not only provides the child with the possibility of a healthy and happy life, but the parents with the same as they do not have to experience the pain and suffering that can arise from the death of a child. Additionally, I can understand why the writer sees genetically engineered babies as unethical. As human beings, we tend to get selfish and conform to what society sees as being acceptable, beautiful etc. Therefore, there is always the possibility of people abusing this new found technology to create, as the author mentions, “the perfect child.” However, we do not know for sure if this will be the result of introducing this new technology into countries. Conclusively, I do not see this as unethical as it is my opinion that the good (benefits and advantages) outweigh the bad which exist in a small number. Here is an article i found on whether genetically engineered babies are ethical or not:

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