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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Screen and modify babies’ genes for life-threatening diseases, not personal preferences

With all the latest medical technology, it has become easier for couples to have children by in-vitro fertilization. This process mixes an egg and a sperm in a petri dish to create an embryo, which is later implanted into the mother’s womb. Once this stage is completed, one could slip the lab techie a twenty and be able to pick a boy or a girl! But parents shouldn’t have the authority to alter the sex of their child, which is often a result of embryonic screening Oftentimes, when couples want to make sure their children don’t inherit family diseases, they screen their embryo’s genes for mutations. Pre-implantation diagnosis (PGD) is used to analyze the genetic make-up of an embryo and is usually allowed to be applied in non-medical situations such as gender selection. While going through this procedure, parents also tend to peak at the baby’s gender to see if it corresponds with their preferences. According to apnews.myway.com, 42 percent of clinics that perform PGD have done so for the option of gender. However, PGD should be carried out for life-threatening purposes only. It originally prevented inheritance of diseases like Tay-Sachs and Fanconi’s anemia, but has been further expanded to uses in cases of leukemia and colon cancer. Although preventing sickness is a great benefit that is finally possible due to today’s medicine, it also gives parents a chance to pick a child. PGD has been referred to as a “slippery slope” due to couples’ tendency to keep on screening for more genes that are usually less important. Once they have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the process, they don’t mind throwing in a little more to choose a girl or boy. One reason for parents’ requesting a diagnosis of their embryo is the desire for males in China. Males seem more “practical” in their culture, which only makes it easier to discriminate against the sexes. Another reason is the desire of family “balance,” according to dallasnews.com. If parents already have a boy, they may want a girl, or vise versa. Does it make such a big difference, though? A loving parent would welcome a child regardless of its sex. So why should couples with bigger bank accounts be allowed to defy nature and create superior children that are disease-free? The truly sad thing is, this won’t come to an end because PGD is life saving and as long as it exists, these pointless screenings for gender will be continued. When a baby is born healthy, what role does gender play? Picking genders of unborn kids will soon become a fad amongst those who invest in PGD. This absurd, useless choice has absolutely no reasonable effect.If parents have gone this far to create life, will they truly care if their baby is born male or female? Birth should remain a natural occurrence, despite the heavily material world we live in. Some of the mystery needs to remain!

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