Designer babies?

By Leah Kohlenberg

By Salon Staff

Published October 16, 2000 7:51PM (EDT)

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Some people say that engineering babies for higher intelligence is wrong. I would ask: Why? If you have the opportunity to make society, one individual at a time, smarter, then why not do it? I doubt that people will object to screening out babies with Down syndrome. And yet, engineering for children with superior characteristics, although beneficial to the child as well as to everyone else, is treated with disdain. Please, stop treating people who want to empower themselves in every possible reproductive way as morally inferior.

-- Cliff Wigtil

There are far worse reasons for having babies than those in the Ayala and Nash cases; my bet is on that the children born of genetic engineering will grow up far happier, healthier and productive than the thousands, if not millions, of children born as the result of ill-considered social engineering who have been doomed to lives on an increasingly marginalized fringe.

In an alarmist environment bent on demonizing genetic "engineering," it is easy to forget that caring parents have always tried for "perfect" children but have been limited in their methods to optimizing maternal health. Genetic engineering has largely fallen into disrepute not because they do something wrong but because they do the right things better.

-- Linda Poste

When I married my husband 44 years ago, I knew nothing of the genetic disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, a neurological muscular disease. After having three children and four grandchildren, it became apparent that something was going on. We went for genetic testing and found out that indeed we had the gene that produced this disease.

If we knew beforehand, it is very likely we wouldn't have had biological children. If we didn't have biological children we and our community would have missed out on the most bright, beautiful and talented people you can imagine. They are musicians, poets, artists and all anyone could wish for. As long as there is no suffering, I say, let us celebrate our individuality.

-- Yolette Nussbaum

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