Designer Babies.In our lifetime.?

img_1150In vitro fertilisation is very common today and perhaps the common  observation of twin births in elderly prosperous females is one result .However, steps are now in action to produce, what may be termed a “choice “ for implantation based on polygenic risk scores based on SNP array results on the embryo.

Sometime next year, two male gay parents will have a child by in vitro fertilisation of an ovum from a female donor fertilised by both fathers.50:50.This is not unique in itself but the couple will for the first time choose which embryo should be implanted in the surrogate mother based on the results of multiple SNP arrays on the embryos which will give the best chance of a disease free life for their offspring, based on the polygenic risk score for common medical illnesses.

This is a first, when the choice of  parents progeny is in the hands of the parents. Will this be the beginning of designer babies for the rich and famous.?At present the SNP arrays used,are for predicting common adult medical conditions.But, there are studies to show that this can be extended to traits like skin colour, height and IQ.When these are allowed ,the reproductive medicine industry will be the centre of controversy by helping parents to produce offspring by design.The design will be the choice of parents.As we stand on the threshold of advances in Reproductive Medicine,the miracle of birth will become a choice for those with deep pockets.We need ask ourselves, are we nearer to playing GOD.?
We have been in Medical practice for over 50 years and have seen many advances but this one will affect the whole world in the century to come.


Author: Eddie

Consultant Physician.

8 thoughts on “Designer Babies.In our lifetime.?”

  1. Thanks Eddie, for updating us on the latest trend in reproductive biology.
    Designer babies probably will become the latest trend. Not only the physical appearance and sex of the baby the trend might extend to personal qualities and intelligence of the newborn.
    I do not know about the others, I do feel an eerie uneasy feeling particularly about the rich and famous with financial clout might misuse. The liberties. However I very much enjoyed the article.
    Kind regards,


    1. Thanks Ariya,To date,our progeny was the result of nature and nurture.With designer babies,man is trying to control both nature and nurture.Interesting times ahead.!!


    1. Thanks Narme for your comment.Unfortunately, these are all signs of our time 2020.!,About the future, Que, sera sera.! There is something with nature that may confound the designers, it is called Pleiotropy, unexpected effects on other SNPP.What that is, is unknown.?. Eddie.


  2. Eddie , Thanks for this facinating post. Although this may be viewed as desirable new medical technology one must be careful about ethical use of new discoveries that interfere with nature. For eg Cloning continues to remain controversial for the same concerns.


    1. Thanks Sam for your comment.Yes, all this is hallowed territory and no one knows where it will lead all of us to. Gene editing has been done on an embryo to make it immune to HIV, though the result was positive, no one yet knows the unexpected effects of the edited genes on other genes.!! Eddie.


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