Choosing our Children

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This series of videos is a very interesting discussion on our ability to select for traits in children. With the advent of genetic engineering and rigorous guidelines for sperm and egg donation, it is more and more possible to “build” a more perfect offspring. As the seen in the video, the majority of people would not object to selecting for a child with regards to good looks and a high SAT score, but when asked the same question about selecting for a deaf child, only one third felt that this was acceptable. The speaker then brings up the very important point that the distinction between the two situations was that the audience felt as if being deaf was a significant disability and the child was being harmed in this way.

The speakers go on to discuss the way genetic selection is symbolic of an increasing commercialization in the way children are being conceived as well as the ethical implications of selecting for a so-called “designer baby”. With respect to eugenics, one can say that it is in the spirit of eugenics for parents to be able to choose only the best traits for their children, but this brings up the issue of the idea that in doing so potential parents are now treating their children as commodities; objects to tailor to their own preferences, as opposed to offspring to love unconditionally.

It is doubtful that many would oppose the idea of selecting against a child having a disability, and less would oppose selecting for a perhaps a taller or more physically fit child, but where should the line be drawn? With regards to traits like eye color or facial features, how can it said objectively which traits are “good” or “bad” for the gene pool?
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