Parent Tampering With the Genetic Makeup of Their Child
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Technology is shaping the world in a blazing hue increasing the positivity and speed in most of the aspects. The same technology is transferring the role of the Creator into the hands of men, raising question on safety of the future generation. As much as these goodies are taking place, there is a dark side that haunts those with an interest on successful future, may be, due to rigidity of opinion or their melancholic temperament influences, which calls for deep and insightful evaluation before making a conclusion. One aspect of technology that is eliciting qualms and disproof is related to the degree by, which parents are accorded authority, and powers to dictate their children genes. This is achieved through genetic modification; deliberate alteration of human genetic composition to arrive at desired offspring. Genetic engineering that leads to gene splicing, and germ line technology has emerged as a contentious issue in the society. Differences in point of approach, and schools of thought, cutting from political, scientific, religious and social, have braced the topic in discussion and evaluation room for a long time.
The main questions that keeps recurring from the concept of genetic engineering is the authenticity, morality and repercussions ascribed to this concept. It requires an insightful evaluation to determine a factual based stand that will answer these questions convincingly. This discussion has two core platforms; those who support gene modification and those who oppose this technological approach.
Determining gene composition, in a child, by parents has been discounted on a number of reasons. Steinbock, 2008, argues that dictating the child’s genetic composition violates the moral and ethical principles of creation (1294). Religiously, the process of creation is supposed to be automatic with no interference. Implementing scientific modifications that bend the natural process violate the religious doctrines. Consequently, there could be social disharmony in acknowledging and respecting individuals with disabilities in the society. The target of this modification, according to Resnik and Vorhaus, is to ensure that the children possess the best genetic composition that will exacerbate their performance (2006). The desired characteristics will eliminate cases of disability in the community; thus, accepting such people will be dreadful.
These modifications are associated with improving the performance of these kids. The authenticity of these enhanced “gifts” turns such kids into commodities, not human beings. Reproduction will assume a competitive market arena, where parents will be competing to produce kids who outdo those of their neighbors. These kids will always be developed with an already life plan, and their line in life designed by their parents. However, the ownership of these traits remains a critical point of argument since these traits were engineered. This is different from the case of a natural child who has worked hard with the aim of polishing their talents. Resnik and Vorhaus laments that genetic modification accord the parents excessive powers, which they term as an act of “playing God” (2006).
Enhancing persons’ talents rob the society the pleasure of fair competition. In cases of games and sports, those with heightened gifts will mostly outdo the common human being. However, gratification realized from these achievements may never be realized among “enhanced gifted” winners, since they consider their gifts as engineered not rightfully possessed. Therefore, genetic modification may divide the society into normal and engineered individuals. This is considerably common in cases where economic and financial statuses are determinants in gene modification technology (“Inheritable genetic modification…” 2006).
It is mere derogatory of child’s freedom where a parent predetermines the path of a child in future through modification of genes. For instance, selectively potentiating superiority of musical or athletic genes goes without doubt that the child is being developed to assume such responsibilities. Biggs pointed that the child has no right of choosing what they can do in life, since their graph is already drawn (2004). In some cases, achieving these super traits will require union of genes from more than two parents. This was evidenced in the initial designer babies’ development in USA where some of the kids possessed genes from three parents. This raises another problem of individualism and identification. Such kids will have difficulties identifying their parents or even accepting the fact that they are born of three parents. Consequently, the problem of identity crisis sets in haunting these kids for life.
According parents the right to make choices on gene composition for their kids could lead to social injustices. In communities where sex of the child is a matter of preference, there could be a society where sex imbalance may be adversely pronounced. Societies would also engage in trading and sourcing for the desired genes, which can lead to eminent conflicts. In addition, where the desired traits are over pronounced; due to errors or generational propagation, the only remedy, according to Biggs, could be culling since the process is irreversible (2004).
A plausible fact regarding this concept is that not every aspect of gene modification is deleterious. There have been profound aspects of genetic modification especially from medical point of view. Having the powers and capability to engineer desirable traits before the kid is born may be crucial in reducing the rate of diseases, such as cancers and genetic linked diseases. This promises a profound intervention towards a healthy world. Equivocally, Biggs suggest that caution should be taken to prevent development of genes that are resistant to conventional medical intervention or even ones that favor proliferation of some pathogens (2004).
Determining a child’s genetic composition will allow parent transmitting passing severe genetic diseases, which eminently thwarts the child’s success. Some of these diseases include cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs syndrome, and Down’s syndrome among others. Consequently, parents will have achieved a magnificent deal in securing the lives of their kids. On the same footing, the familiar linked diseases will have no room in a family. Couple who cannot reproduce due to infertility issues can manage to have kids by the help of this technology.
Personality is believed to be interplay between genetic composition and the environment. Therefore, disputing genetic modification on the argument that the technology determines child’s personality can be renounced on bases of inept factual ground by proponents of this technology (Steinbock 1294). Parental tyranny demonstrated in selectivity of genes is also argued to have minimal differences with what psychologist call “hyper-parenting”. Hyper-parenting is associated with situation where parents use force in directing what their children should be in life. Parents have also been identified as key influencers’ of career and personality development. In this respect, projecting this influence to genetic modification does not violate child’s freedom per se.
In conclusion, it appears that there are a lot of precautions that need to be taken, in case parents have to decide their kids’ genetic composition. Principle bases of argument for opponents of gene modification are mainly benched on unforeseen and future consequences. These repercussion may be lethal and beyond human capability to contain. The social instability that may arise after permitting parents to decide genetic composition may lead to escalated levels of social injustice and inequality. The rich may utilize this opportunity to wedge out the poor from ample life opportunities. Therefore, conferring parents the right to make choices on genetic composition of their kids needs steadfast laws and regulations. There should be an independent institution that oversees the project. In addition, the purpose and extent of the project should be clarified; whether cosmetic or medical. Otherwise, this technology proofs catastrophic ones in the hands of the wrong people.
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