According to BBC News, The LA Fertility Institutes expects a trait-selected baby to be born next year. The clinic also offers sex selection.
UK fertility experts are angered that the service will distract attention from how the same technology can protect against inherited disease. The science is based on a lab technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD. This involves testing a cell taken from a very early embryo before it is put into the mother’s womb. Doctors then select an embryo free from rogue genes – or in this case an embryo with the desired physical traits such as blonde hair and blue eyes – to continue the pregnancy, and discard any others.
But Dr. Gillian Lockwood, a UK fertility expert and member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ ethics committee, questioned whether is was morally right to be using the science in this way.
“If it gets to the point where we can decide which gene or combination of genes are responsible for blue eyes or blonde hair, what are you going to do with all those other embryos that turn out like me to be ginger with green eyes?”
She warned against “turning babies into commodities that you buy off the shelf.”
Image: BBC News