02 March 2009
What's Your Preference?
The miracles of modern medicine and our ability to save and prolong life are an integral part of who we have become, who we are, and who we will be. It is also a matter of some concern, at least, in a medical ethics sense.
The most obvious example of a current concern is the leaps and bounds being made in cloning technology. I am all for development of new technology. Nevertheless, new technology, particularly in medical science, is going to give rise to some interesting ethical and moral debates.
I have just finished reading this interesting story about prospective parents being able to choose not only the sex of their child, but also the child's hair colour, eye colour, and even skin colour. I guess this is like a little bit of pre-natal cosmetic surgery.
The issue here is that some individuals are exploiting advances that were made with more primary concerns involved. Scientists who have developed the ability to identify certain diseases or markers for potential health problems have also, as part of the process, discovered ways to manipulate cells and genes to ensure certain outcomes, like blue eyes.
Medical research is not cheap, so it is of no surprise that the selection of the specialized traits for your baby will also not come cheap. The current estimated cost is USD 18,000. Having had a look at my perfect little bundle of screaming joy on getting home earlier tonight, I can think of other things to put USD 18 K to, rather than a set of hazel coloured eyes or darker skin.
When it is all said and done, to each their own. However, even if I had the money or the ability to choose these traits, I would not do it and I would not have done it in this case. This, for me, is a separate issue from one such as identifying a gene for disease, such as down syndrome. But, that's just me.