Science moves forward so quickly that soon it will be possible to pick up a future child’s eye color, hair color, and body type. Moreover, it will also be possible to change the genes of an unborn child to ensure the absence of serious diseases in his/her childhood and adulthood. All these steps can be done with the help of genetic engineering – the branch of science that is quickly developing today.
Genetic engineering is defined as the way to manipulate the human DNA on the cellular level in order to alter heredity traits or stop diseases from developing. It can be used for unborn babies or pregnant women in medical causes. To do this, doctors take the diseased genes out and use special therapies to repair them. In some cases, it is required to replace the diseased genes with healthy ones to avoid genetic disorders for the child.
It is possible to test an embryo’s genes in the early stage of pregnancy to check it for susceptibility to such diseases as anemia, hemophilia, Alzheimer’s disease, leukemia, and certain other types of cancer, Down syndrome, and cystic fibrosis and change them with healthy genes. Unfortunately, it is impossible to make genetic engineering procedures for every pregnant woman who needs it since it costs an arm and a leg. One such procedure can be as expensive as $2,500 per test.
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In addition, there is also a procedure called in vitro fertilization. During this procedure, an embryo with modifications is implanted into a woman’s uterus. In this case, the embryo will have perfect genes with no susceptibility to any chronic diseases. It is quite possible that in the future married couples will come to fertility clinics not because they have issues with conceiving a baby, but because they want to change genes in the child they are going to have.
The procedure of in vitro fertilization lies in the following: the doctor fertilizes a woman’s egg with a man’s sperm and inserts an artificial chromosome that leads to the self-destruction of disease-carrying genes. As a result, the baby is born and lives without susceptibility to this disease and will not carry it to his/her children in the future. Another reason why parents might need to genetically modify their baby is if their previous child needs the bone marrow transplantation. In this case, it is possible to make sure that the future baby’s bone marrow will fit for the transplant. The cost of in vitro fertilization is also high – up to $7,500.
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Conducting these procedures can help decrease the rate of morbidity and mortality in children. Moreover, it can also help parents to program gender of their future baby, select his/her physical appearance, body type, eye color, hair color, and so on.