Aurea is like every other toddler. With one exception: she’s statistically less likely than other toddlers to develop many diseases.
If you’re wondering, “How’s that possible?” … let us explain:
People’s genes can predispose them to things like diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. A procedure called PGT-P allows couples undergoing IVF to identify genetic markers for these conditions in their embryos. In Aurea's case, her parents chose her embryo over others b/c she had the fewest recognizable genetic mutations for diseases.
It’s worth noting that many parents-to-be *already* do some form of genetic testing and/or embryo selection:
- Many pregnant couples test their fetuses for trisomy 21, Tay-Sachs, etc.
- Many people who undergo IVF select which embryos to implant based on their genetic viability
Proponents of PGT-P argue that it’s just an extension of what many people already do – and helps parents choose embryos with the best chance at a healthy life. (Because who wouldn't want to ensure their child is unlikely to develop heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or schizophrenia?)
Opponents of PGT-P argue that it’s wrong to value “healthy” embryos over embryos who are at risk for certain diseases. They argue that PGT-P is a way of “playing God” … and is a slippery slope toward creating “designer babies.”
Aurea's father insists that PGT-P testing isn’t “playing God.” In his words: "It's working as a mechanic ⚙️ on molecular machines (i.e., humans) that can break and need fixing.” What’s more, he believes PGT-P will eventually become normal.
Which got us wondering …
? If you could “pick an embryo” to ensure that your future child had a very low risk of developing severe health issues, would you?
? Many people who undergo IVF already choose the sex of their embryos. Is this a form of “playing God” – and if so, is that wrong?
? If 60% of parents in the U.S. were creating “designer babies” (selecting embryos for their height, eye color, hair color, or predisposition to intelligence or athleticism) … blue eyes, dark hair, high likelihood of being intelligent) … would you do it too?