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The ethical implications of creating "beautiful" babies Options · View
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 7:12:02 AM

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Fertility treatments are becoming more and more common in order to help a couple conceive. They can be as simple as IVF using the parent's own genetic material, or they can involve choosing donor eggs or sperm if the couple do not have viable reproductive abilities.

There has been much debate over what traits or characteristics should be allowed to be chosen from when looking at donor egg and sperm. There has been a disproportionate demand for tall, blond, blue-eyed, athletic fertility donors... even requested by non-caucasion couples. Some people feel like this is one step away from eugenics.

On the other hand, if you were in a similar situation, and were choosing to use an egg or sperm donor, how much of your decision would fall on what the donor looked like? Would you be willing to use a fertility donor without knowing the specifics of what that donor looked like? Would you be willing to pay a premium to gain access to egg/sperm from a donor that would be considered extremely conventionally attractive?

Consider this controversial recent news article where a website called www.beautifulpeople.com recently added a fertility donor section section for those seeking "supermodel" genetic material.

http://mashable.com/2010/06/21/beautifulpeople-com-sperm-bank/

Excerpt from Article: “There are no financial benefits for us in doing so — we are simply responding to a demand for attractive donors. Every parent would like their child to be blessed with many fine attributes, attractiveness being one of the most sought after. For a site with members who resemble Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Angelina Jolie you can imagine the demand.” Hintze added that initially the service was to be limited to hotties and hotties alone, “But everyone — including ugly people — would like to bring good looking children in to the world, and we can’t be selfish with our attractive gene pool.”

Should this even be allowed, or is this taking genetic selection to an unethical level?

Magical_felix
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 7:30:59 AM

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I really don't see a problem with this. If a couple is white and they need a donor why wouldn't they pick what they feel is the most attractive donor? I myself would pick a Hispanic donor but would also like him to be tall, attractive and smart. I would want my child to not have the hurdle of being unattractive if I could afford it. Then again I've seen two beautiful people have ugly kids so it's not a sure thing.

At first I thought this was about actually picking and choosing a childs traits like in the movie gattaca which I would be against.



WellMadeMale
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 7:49:48 AM

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I can think of about two dozen traits (off the top of my head) which would be more important to me, for any future child I thought about raising 17 years and then hanging out with and assisting for the rest of my life.

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 7:50:03 AM

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Magical_felix wrote:

At first I thought this was about actually picking and choosing a childs traits like in the movie gattaca which I would be against.


Yeah, I think the argument is that this is taking a step closer to the idea of eugenics, where we start selectively choosing certain genetic traits seen as improving the species (using a larger scale pov), but seen as more controversial given the history of eugenics abuse by governments.

On one hand (to take this topic into a larger scale discussion), you can remove genetic abnormalities and disorders if you were to create a baby in the lab first. Already, there are issues where countries that favour boys over girls are using sex-selective abortions to get the offspring they want.

By definition: "Eugenics was practiced around the world and was promoted by governments, and influential individuals and institutions. Its advocates regarded it as a social philosophy for the improvement of human hereditary traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of certain people and traits, and the reduction of reproduction of certain people and traits."

It makes sense in theory, but I guess some argue where does it end up being taken to? Do we start selecting for other traits as science progresses in order to create "perfect people". And who determines what that perfection would look like? As a far stretch, could we end up one day in a 'Gattaca' type situation?



MrNudiePants
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 8:16:41 AM

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My wife and I went through this discussion when we wanted to have a child. She had had her tubes removed due to some issues she had before we met, and because she had children already, they figured it would never matter. Our choice was in-vitro fertilization, using our own eggs and sperm. (BTW - the first thing they do is make you get your semen tested before they start the process. They figure it's no use collecting all the eggs if the father is shooting blanks. The girl that tested my semen told me I had four times as much sperm in my semen as a 'normal' male -- per cc, I suppose... Not that it's important. I just wanted to share.laughing8 )

Back to the original discussion - I have to ask this: What does it matter to me or you, what someone else does to have a child? Does it really matter to us how they choose their donors? I mean, if it were me, I'd want the parents to look as much like us as possible. I'd want the child to resemble his/her parents. But if you have the chance to have a child, and actually CHOOSE what traits the child has, what's the difference between selecting for intelligence and good health, vs. choosing for good looks? I'd want the child's genetic parents to be attractive, healthy, athletic, intelligent, with good morals, and strong work ethics. Who can say how many of those traits are influenced by genetics and how many are influenced solely by upbringing?
LadyX
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 8:41:58 AM

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MrNudiePants wrote:
The girl that tested my semen told me I had four times as much sperm in my semen as a 'normal' male -- per cc, I suppose... Not that it's important. I just wanted to share.laughing8 )


Just think of all the little Newdettes you're denying the world with your egg-busting army of semen! sad10

I see WMM's point, that looks aren't everything- but they're a hell of a lot. Tall people make more money, attractive people make more money. Money isn't everything, but- just like looks- it's a hell of a lot.

If I was in that position, I'd feel downright stupid to not choose a donor with good 'physical traits'. I wonder if interviews are standard too- that seems like a good idea. You'd hate for the donor to be amazingly handsome and strong of body, but dumb as a stump.
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 9:05:34 AM

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LadyX wrote:
[quote=MrNudiePants]
If I was in that position, I'd feel downright stupid to not choose a donor with good 'physical traits'. I wonder if interviews are standard too- that seems like a good idea. You'd hate for the donor to be amazingly handsome and strong of body, but dumb as a stump.


I have a friend that's looking for an egg donor right now, and she posed the following question the other day. Would you rather have a beautiful but dumb child, or an extremely intelligent but unattractive child? (assuming you could only choose one or the other). I think there is genuine debate on which factor (beauty of intelligence) can open the most doors and provide the most opportunity for success in society. Most people would probably prefer a blend (or both), but if you could only select for one trait... I'll bet many people would have to really think about their answer.

As for my friend's choice... she's still searching for her amazon supermodel egg donor... happy8

MrNudiePants
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 9:36:23 AM

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Dancing_Doll wrote:
LadyX wrote:

If I was in that position, I'd feel downright stupid to not choose a donor with good 'physical traits'. I wonder if interviews are standard too- that seems like a good idea. You'd hate for the donor to be amazingly handsome and strong of body, but dumb as a stump.


I have a friend that's looking for an egg donor right now, and she posed the following question the other day. Would you rather have a beautiful but dumb child, or an extremely intelligent but unattractive child? (assuming you could only choose one or the other). I think there is genuine debate on which factor (beauty of intelligence) can open the most doors and provide the most opportunity for success in society. Most people would probably prefer a blend (or both), but if you could only select for one trait... I'll bet many people would have to really think about their answer.

As for my friend's choice... she's still searching for her amazon supermodel egg donor... happy8


I think she should look right here in this thread... thumbright
Guest
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 10:15:27 AM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 652,374
well i always joke that i ordered a blonde haired, blue eyed, pink cheeked little girl and thats exactly what i got! however, shes a hell child too ;)

i guess, if we can genetically filter for defects, deformities and disease it stands to reason that there will be those that want to filter for looks. but like most who have posted here i think there are so many more important things than how a person looks. and, in my opinion, if your biggest concern for your child is to be "super model material" perhaps you should examine you motivation behind wanting to be a parent..even if maybe you should be one at all. whats more is dont we want to leave at least some things as a surprise? i guess maybe not all do.

to answer Doll's second question Ill take smart over beautiful any day in any situation. beauty will fade, smart does not (at least not until you are very old). Beauty can take you far in life, but only so far. smart can take you wherever you want to go.
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