Sunday, August 12, 2007

Designer Babies!


The media have over the past few years thrown about issues of stem cell research, assisted reproduction and cloning. The making of designer babies as some people like to term them has been in the news for quite a while now. And while countries like the US have initiated and set of boards and committees like its Bioethics council to discuss and proliferate issues related to biomedical technologies.

Some of you may know I write for the popular magazine bazaar in Kuwait and my feature for the coming month is intended to shed some more light on biomedical technology and its pros & cons. As such some of your comments may be used in the article if you don’t mind me publishing your names or we could just use your nicknames in blog-land (don’t know how readers will react to a "flaming carrot")

I personally am not a proponent of designer babies. The fact that we're messing around to create the perfect human being is just plain "wrong" to me. For me biotechnology is more about finding ways to cure some of the most common ailments and diseases in the world today. Some of you may argue that stem cell research has the potential to substantially change the way people are treated for diseases like cancer, Parkinson's and leukemia and while that is true, some scientists have been trying to use the findings of embryonic stem cell research to go to the next level; selling the concept to wealthy families in the guise of designer babies.

A reproductive technology like in-vitro-fertilization is to a certain extent acceptable if the recipients of the artificially fertilized babies are couples that can not conceive a child but there have been reported cases of couples resorting to in-vitro fertilization to just get better children. This is like challenging God to a contest saying we can make better and flawless human beings.

Any views people?

9 comments:

Rubick said...

I dont think this ia a very safe bet especially considering that these babies will somewhere down the line be deffective.They will need to get this method perfected before testing it on a human. Apart from being morally and religiously wrong we are seriously playing with people's fates and destinies.I dont understand much about this stem cell research stuff but I know it is morally wrong to be playing with something that is a part of nature. It may have more harmfull affects than we think.

Lord Raj said...

Interesting.

Loved the comics u put up. Hillarious..

Now abt the issue. Jus sharing my views.

Every technology, old,new or upcoming - has been, is being n will be - subject to debates.

There are ways to make good use of it, there are ways to abuse it. Its not the particular technology that is to be blamed, but rather the people who decide how it is to be used.

For example - Ecstasy was initially intended to be an intermediate chemical used in the synthesis of a hydrastinine - a drug intended to control bleeding from wounds - (patented in 1914). (got this from wikipedia)

Who knows, perhaps it couldve also been used to treat psycological issues n would be the wonder drug being prescribed by psychiatrists

The intent wasnt to make it an abusive drug.

When scientists did the research on Nuclear energy (Fission n Fusion reactions) the intent was to produce energy. how that energy is to be used is a completely different matter.

Now the implications of a successful Stem Cell research or clonin or whateva - are limited only to the extent of the imagination of the individual.

the positive implications are there n so are the negative.

I wouldnt want to see somethin like this shut down. personally, i think - the world has a lot more immediate issues to worry abt - than the potential harm that could be caused by Stem Cell research.. but thats jus a personal opinion.

IT MAY HAVE MORE HARMFUL EFFECTS THAN WE THINK.. well that can be true for jus abt anythin ..

abt the moral or religious angle, well to each his own.

Messing with nature.. haa.. we do that everyday, dont we?

u think nature provides us with trees so we can cut em down n make paper?? (jus another way of lookin at it)

Depends on how one looks at it

The research doesnt centre around only clonin n designer babies.. but also focuses on clonin organs.. a new liver to replace the messed up liver u have now (coz u thought nature gave u booze to drink away n nature should take its course n u decided not to mess with nature)

a new kidney .. perhaps a treatment for cancer.. leukemia.
perhaps an effective cure for diabetes or parkinsons..

Why does one take any medicines at all?? why?? why interfere with nature?

Why look for organ donors? why use vaccines for polio n stuff?? Why use a condom or other contraceptives n mess with nature?? why treat (or try to treat) baldness? why go to the gym n work out? why get a hair cut.. why build buildings? why spend money to try to enrich the soil or why develop HYV (high yieldin varities) of crops????

It all depends on perceptions my friend.

Do not fear to be eccentric in your opinion, for every opinion accepted today, was once considered eccentric

what the future holds, only time will tell... but if we are to only think abt the negatives of every new research program, then we would be stuck where we are now.

There is no such thing as RESEARCH EXCLUSIVELY FOR A GOOD CAUSE.

Everythin GREAT doesnt necessarily have to be GOOD. n sadly the world n the minds of today (well majority atleast) want to attain GREATNESS n not GOODNESS.

Research is research.. thats it. how the results are put to use in our world, depends on the individuals - depends on US......

One could use the research n the results to make a better world a safer world or a monstrous world.

The argument that it COULD cause more harm, or it COULD potentially be misused - WILL HOLD TRUE FOR EVERYTHIN. (it actually does)

BarryUno said...

Well put raj! You make many fine points. In the long run it would be interesting to see how stem cell research pans out.

Almost every invention in this world has been put to good use as well as bad. With the wheel we made cars for traaportation as well as battletanks for destruction. With nuclear science we created alternate energy sources and we created nuclear bombs!

Personally, I think everything needs boundaries and unless we set those boundaries there can be no differentiation between right and wrong. Fortunately (or unfortunately) stem cell research is still in its initial stages and we will have to wait a little longer before we can set boundaries of any sort.

Thanks for your input mate. Will use it for my article. Now, where do we stand on the Ecstacy? ;-)

Lord Raj said...

Barry, on Ecstasy.. LOL!!
well ahem, do you really expect me to put it down in black n white ;)

I have to say this, im thankful that you (n some other bloggers) dont delete my comments. has happened to me a few times before n that sucks.

Its always nice to have a healthy exchange of ideas. Thanks for allowin us (i actually mean ME), for puttin up our thoughts.

Appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Stem cell research has always been a hotly debated subject for a decade now.

Initially a way of increasing our knowledge on the hunman circulatory, nervous and immune system so that we can develop better ways of treating diseases like cancer and conditions like paralysis etc. it has given people the impression that other advancements that are related to it like cloning will impact society in a bad way giving rise to designer babies that you talk about in your post.

There will always be deterrents to all kinds of human advancement. Some people may think it is morally wrong to play with nature and defy it in a way. But like lord raj says in his comment, if this is considered bad, then why promote other "innovations" like the condom or plain and simple flu medicine or even the polio vaccine? Wouldn't it be best to let nature take its own course?

Finally as you said Barry, it is necesarry that we draw the boundaries before we embark on any research. in fact that is what's being done in the US and the UK where special committees have been set up to discuss and define moral, social and ethical boundaries.

BarryUno said...

Well said anon! The replies to this post have been quite inspiring I have to admit. I suppose Kuwait does have people with their own views about this stuff. People with objective and analytical thought patterns. People who can speak their mind out. Groovy!

Raj, it's a pleasure to have your comments on this blog or any blog for that matter mate. Difference in opinion or being vocal about one's views certainly does not equate to ostrasizing him/her from a community. Besides blogs are supposed to be a forum for free speech as long as we're staying within certain boundaries (this post is all about boundaries eh?) and not hurting anyone's sentiments seriously, it's all good.

That's my new catch-phrase for the month btw - It's all good!

BarryUno said...

Speaking of interesting replies - where have Rayboy and Flaming Carrot gone?

Anonymous said...

I definitly agree with you

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