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    Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

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    missingyoumadly
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    Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by missingyoumadly on Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:26 pm

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    Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come
    Written on February 25, 2009 – 5:17 pm | by keith kleiner |
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    Long before Watson and Crick famously uncovered the structure of DNA in 1953, people envisioned with both horror and hope a day when babies could be custom designed — free of inherited disease, yet equipped with superior genes for good looks, intelligence, athleticism, and more. Now the beginnings of that day have finally come.
    designer_baby_babies

    The Fertility Institutes recently stunned the fertility community by being the first company to boldly offer couples the opportunity to screen their embryos not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color, hair color, and complexion. The Fertility Institutes proudly claims this is just the tip of the iceberg, and plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available. Even as couples from across the globe are flocking in droves to pay the company their life’s savings for a custom baby, opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries. Like it or not, the era of designer babies is officially here and there is no going back.

    For decades now a technology called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, has enabled In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) clinics to screen embryos for more than 100 potentially debilitating and often deadly diseases before the embryo is implanted into the mother. A medical revolution has thus unfolded, enabling literally tens of thousands of couples and their babies to sidestep some of the world’s most terrifying diseases.

    Take the case of Cindy and John Whitley. Their first child died at the age of 9 months from a deadly genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy. Genetic analysis uncovered that the Whitley’s statistically had a 1 in 4 chance of creating a child with spinal muscular atrophy each time they conceived. Unwilling to risk having another child with the deadly disorder, the Whitley’s used PGD to conceive three children, all healthy.

    Yet PGD allows scientists to screen embryos for much more than just genetic diseases, and therein lies the promise - and the peril - of designer babies.

    Gender was the first major genetic trait beyond genetic disease to be widely manipulated through PGD. The Fertility Institutes is a leader in the field, claiming nearly 100% success in providing couples with a baby of a predetermined gender. Completely healthy and fertile couples from all over the world are coming to The Fertility Institutes everyday to confront the risk, the expense, and the discomfort of conceiving their baby in a test tube, all for the ability to choose the sex of their baby.

    Gender selection is a big business. Dr. Steinberg, Director at The Fertility Institutes, claims that they are performing on the order of 10 gender selection fertilizations every week, each for a fee of $18,400. Although In Vitro Fertilizations were originally designed to help parents that were unable to conceive children naturally, Steinberg says that a staggering 70% of their clients have absolutely no difficulty conceiving children, coming to the Institute purely for opportunity to choose the sex of their baby.

    Now, in the latest twist in the march towards designer babies, The Fertility Institutes says they will soon be able to offer couples the ability to screen their embryos for eye color, hair color, and complexion. The Institute cannot change the DNA of the donating couple — if neither the mother nor the father has genes for green eyes, for example, then the Institute cannot give them a baby with green eyes. Yet within the constraints inherent in the DNA of the donating couple, The Fertility Institute is willing to screen embryos for these traits. The Fertility Institute wants to offer several other customizations, and many more are sure to be released in the coming years as the science behind screening for them is developed.

    In many countries around the world PGD is heavily regulated and designer babies are strictly out of the question. Yet in a strange paradox, even as the United States is one of the world’s most regulated nations in several areas of medical research and development, PGD is completely legal and unregulated in the United States. Hence, even as the United States is hindered by regulation in areas such as stem cell research, the country seems poised to be a world leader in the designer baby revolution.

    At the moment, The Fertility Institutes carries the mantle as the company at the forefront of this revolution, and as such they are a lightning rod for the praise and adoration, but also the bitter and severe anger, of those on both sides of this great moral debate.

    The genie is officially out of the bottle, in fact it probably has been for a long time. There is no stopping the designer baby revolution. Even as some countries try to clamp down on it, others will allow it. Progress, if we call it that, will continue unabated. A similar phenomenon has unfolded with embryonic stem cell research in recent years. Even as the Bush administration almost completely strangled US investment and research in this promising field, other countries invested heavily and advances continued.

    A new generation of genetically enhanced designer babies is inevitable in the coming decades. Yet for those of us that are merely “normal”, do not despair. Even as we are outmatched by the next generation genetically, a host of new technologies from chip implants to gene therapy may allow us to keep up, allowing us to enhance ourselves in equally transformative ways. The future will indeed be interesting.

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    Re: Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by warrenBbull on Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:20 pm

    "Even as we are outmatched by the next generation genetically, a host of new technologies from chip implants to gene therapy may allow us to keep up, allowing us to enhance ourselves in equally transformative ways. The future will indeed be interesting"

    Interesting how they admit this, isn't it? translation "oh don't worry about being out-classed in favor of un-natural people, we can give you a brain chip to make you just as useful a slave to us as those un-natural people we created in a test tube".

    Man, it's getting harder and harder for the coincidence theorists to spin semi-believable lies to justify their ignorance isn't it?
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    Re: Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by Lucid Memes on Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:44 am

    For decades now a technology called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, has enabled In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) clinics to screen embryos for more than 100 potentially debilitating and often deadly diseases before the embryo is implanted into the mother. A medical revolution has thus unfolded, enabling literally tens of thousands of couples and their babies to sidestep some of the world’s most terrifying diseases.

    Take the case of Cindy and John Whitley. Their first child died at the age of 9 months from a deadly genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy. Genetic analysis uncovered that the Whitley’s statistically had a 1 in 4 chance of creating a child with spinal muscular atrophy each time they conceived. Unwilling to risk having another child with the deadly disorder, the Whitley’s used PGD to conceive three children, all healthy.

    I've argued with quite a few transhumanist in forums and on youtube, and this is always their clutch point to fall back on. Loving to bring up a altruistic ideal of "helping others" ...but this is only after their selfishness and power hunger has been exposed in debate. As much as I feel bad for people with diseases and disabilities...it is sad but probably true, that transhumanism may become accepted after clever marketing tricks play to people's sympathies for helping the less fortunate. But if people only knew, that the result of all this would end with something looking like the movie [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], perhaps they would have second thoughts.


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    Re: Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by missingyoumadly on Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:07 am

    Preston wrote:
    For decades now a technology called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, has enabled In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) clinics to screen embryos for more than 100 potentially debilitating and often deadly diseases before the embryo is implanted into the mother. A medical revolution has thus unfolded, enabling literally tens of thousands of couples and their babies to sidestep some of the world’s most terrifying diseases.

    Take the case of Cindy and John Whitley. Their first child died at the age of 9 months from a deadly genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy. Genetic analysis uncovered that the Whitley’s statistically had a 1 in 4 chance of creating a child with spinal muscular atrophy each time they conceived. Unwilling to risk having another child with the deadly disorder, the Whitley’s used PGD to conceive three children, all healthy.

    I've argued with quite a few transhumanist in forums and on youtube, and this is always their clutch point to fall back on. Loving to bring up a altruistic ideal of "helping others" ...but this is only after their selfishness and power hunger has been exposed in debate. As much as I feel bad for people with diseases and disabilities...it is sad but probably true, that transhumanism may become accepted after clever marketing tricks play to people's sympathies for helping the less fortunate. But if people only knew, that the result of all this would end with something looking like the movie [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], perhaps they would have second thoughts.

    I have a very strong, very unpopular opinion about this. I myself have lost a baby...it is NOT an experience I would care to repeat HOWEVER, I wouldn't want to go back and get rid of that baby in exchange for a living baby either. Nature is nature. People die, sometimes at 8 months, sometimes at 8 years, sometimes at 88 years...whatever. Humans are terribly arrogant to think we can cheat this. Can you choose a perfect child who will never get sick and never die??? Of course not! Even if you pick the perfect healthy embryo, you could lose that baby to something completely unrelated to genetics.

    I guess you could accuse me of being morbid, but I just don't look at the death that way. We look at death as being scary and horrible, it is to most people the WORST thing that can happen..but truth be told, it is only nature doing what nature does. We cannot be immune from it. The death of my son changed me as a person, it made me a BETTER person. I miss him, I still cry for him, I wish he were here. Sometimes when my children are playing, I think there is one missing from the fun. But I wouldn't trade those 9 months of pregnancy for anything in the world, it was the time I had with him. And I certainly wouldn't state that he was anything less than he should have been, genetically or otherwise.

    This is inspiring to me actually, I may write more on the topic when I have the time...
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    Re: Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by Lucid Memes on Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:42 pm

    missingyoumadly wrote:I have a very strong, very unpopular opinion about this. I myself have lost a baby...it is NOT an experience I would care to repeat HOWEVER, I wouldn't want to go back and get rid of that baby in exchange for a living baby either. Nature is nature. People die, sometimes at 8 months, sometimes at 8 years, sometimes at 88 years...whatever. Humans are terribly arrogant to think we can cheat this. Can you choose a perfect child who will never get sick and never die??? Of course not! Even if you pick the perfect healthy embryo, you could lose that baby to something completely unrelated to genetics.

    I guess you could accuse me of being morbid, but I just don't look at the death that way. We look at death as being scary and horrible, it is to most people the WORST thing that can happen..but truth be told, it is only nature doing what nature does. We cannot be immune from it. The death of my son changed me as a person, it made me a BETTER person. I miss him, I still cry for him, I wish he were here. Sometimes when my children are playing, I think there is one missing from the fun. But I wouldn't trade those 9 months of pregnancy for anything in the world, it was the time I had with him. And I certainly wouldn't state that he was anything less than he should have been, genetically or otherwise.

    This is inspiring to me actually, I may write more on the topic when I have the time...

    Thanks for sharing MYM. I can feel that this is something very personal to you and i commend your courage in discussing this. Death of a loved one is the most painful things a person can go through; and because of the shortness and fragility of a human life span, some have come to look at death itself as humanity's greatest weakness. Those in agreement with this point, see material death as the most significant obstacle to overcome and are working furiously to make life extension technologies available (but to a select few of course)

    But this idea that dying is our weakness is wrong IMO...I believe our morality is the source of our greatest strength. I'll give you an example in the Tolkien mythology of Lord of the Rings. The Elven race were the highest caste, they were intelligent, beautiful, and of course "immortal." By that description alone, you'd think that the elves had the perfect lives, but this was not the case. Tolkien wrote them with a serious character flaw, of which he called "premature immortality". They were constantly living their lives with their minds in the past, hating the world as it constantly changed and died around them. Spending the majority of their time in a perpetual state of boredom, lack of excitement and sadness. Their immortality was actually their curse!

    The Human race was envied by them on occasion. This is because the humans lived their lives as if every day were their last...seeing as it could end at any moment. Recognition of this can lead a person to achieve extraordinary heights in an attempt to experience the best life has to offer before it is all over. This, more or less, is what that Helix Sports thread was about. And I don't even really need to explain this to you, cause i think you already get the point. I'm quoting you on this one

    I try not to fear the world too much; other people in my life do, however. So I defend my choices in allowing my kids reasonable freedom by saying "It's as safe as life gets." Life is NOT safe; we are all on a path toward dying.

    Were all on this path. But the road is full of amazing places and experiences. Death is not to be feared. Instead the thought of it should serve as a reminder to express yourself by doing the things you've always wanted to do before its too late.


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    Re: Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by missingyoumadly on Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:49 pm

    But this idea that dying is our weakness is wrong IMO...I believe our morality is the source of our greatest strength. I'll give you an example in the Tolkien mythology of Lord of the Rings. The Elven race were the highest caste, they were intelligent, beautiful, and of course "immortal." By that description alone, you'd think that the elves had the perfect lives, but this was not the case. Tolkien wrote them with a serious character flaw, of which he called "premature immortality". They were constantly living their lives with their minds in the past, hating the world as it constantly changed around them. Spending the majority of their time in a perpetual state of boredom and lack of excitement. Their immortality was actually their curse!

    Interesting, indeed...Anne Rice also explored this idea in the Vampire Chronicles. The flaw of being immortal is that is apparently extremely difficult to be immortal in a mortal world! And imagine knowing that there is no consequence of "DEATH" for one's actions...would we have the same values, moral fiber, etc...or would it be a world in which the eternally damaged continue to live and reproduce, cluttering the earth with depraved agony?

    ...um, okay, I'm back from fantasy-land now...but anyway, yeah, society has created entire CULT RELIGIONS in order to attempt to ward off the reality of death (John 3:16, anyone?!) So certainly people are TERRIFIED of it. What if, instead, we focused on making the world better for the living? After all, our true mortality is that of the next generation of humans we have created and/or helped to create.
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    Re: Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by Lucid Memes on Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:47 pm

    missingyoumadly wrote:...um, okay, I'm back from fantasy-land now...but anyway, yeah, society has created entire CULT RELIGIONS in order to attempt to ward off the reality of death

    cult religions? we're not back from fantasy when that comes up next lol!

    speaking of which however, the transhumanists associations have begun marketing their ideas to the fantasy/sci-fiction crowds...as they're a younger and more enthusiastic demographic who have been brainwashed into yearning for these technologies coming about. one of the transhumanists arguments is that throughout the ages...man made religions, mythologies, and sci-fi/fantasy genres are like a human expressions of the need to become gods. then they'll hit the comic book nerd with a sales pitch like "wouldn't you like to be a superhero...or a god?"


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    Re: Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by warrenBbull on Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:08 pm

    Preston wrote:
    missingyoumadly wrote:...um, okay, I'm back from fantasy-land now...but anyway, yeah, society has created entire CULT RELIGIONS in order to attempt to ward off the reality of death

    cult religions? we're not back from fantasy when that comes up next lol!

    speaking of which however, the transhumanists associations have begun marketing their ideas to the fantasy/sci-fiction crowds...as they're a younger and more enthusiastic demographic who have been brainwashed into yearning for these technologies coming about. one of the transhumanists arguments is that throughout the ages...man made religions, mythologies, and sci-fi/fantasy genres are like a human expressions of the need to become gods. then they'll hit the comic book nerd with a sales pitch like "wouldn't you like to be a superhero...or a god?"


    Sadly, I think I have a few friends who may actually fall for this when it comes around..... "get this brain chip, and gain the powers of your favorite super hero", and of coarse they won't even think to ask about the drawbacks. Of coarse, with these designer-made babies, these artificial humans could be born with all these said powers, which would lead to them replacing us less artificial humans... Although we're still artificial too though, but not as much as these damn designer babies..... They won't even need to market brain chips to them, hell they'll probably be born with them.
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    Re: Designer Babies - Like It Or Not, Here They Come

    Post by Lucid Memes on Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:52 pm

    I have friends like that too Warren

    And you're right about how they won't need to market it to those born with it...all they need to do is alter one generation to direct multiple generations to follow. it's sad really


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