Monday, March 02, 2009

Is the Brave New World coming soon?

Yesterday I started reading Brave New World. I've been thinking about it for a long time as references to it keep coming up. It's actually a re-read but high school was a while ago and I don't remember much about it. I've only just gotten through the first couple of chapters, which focus on the brave new way of procreation. Babies are created in a lab and "nurtured" by various methods to ensure they will fit into their predetermined "caste." It's all very sci-fi (OK, yeah, it is a sci-fi novel) and impersonal. The idea of "mother" and "father" is considered nearly pornographic, and a discussion of a typical family life back in the unenlightened days is met with shock and disbelief.

And then this morning I read this in the Wall Street Journal:

A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles -- Hold the Colic

Laboratory Techniques That Screen for Diseases in Embryos Are Now Being Offered to Create Designer Children

A Los Angeles clinic says it will soon help couples select both gender and physical traits in a baby when they undergo a form of fertility treatment. The clinic, Fertility Institutes, says it has received "half a dozen" requests for the service, which is based on a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

While PGD has long been used for the medical purpose of averting life-threatening diseases in children, the science behind it has quietly progressed to the point that it could potentially be used to create designer babies. It isn't clear that Fertility Institutes can yet deliver on its claims of trait selection. But the growth of PGD, unfettered by any state or federal regulations in the U.S., has accelerated genetic knowledge swiftly enough that pre-selecting cosmetic traits in a baby is no longer the stuff of science fiction.


Anonymous said...

I just had my son read this book. I'll have to show him this article.

Kerri said...

I felt sick when I saw that article. :(

DADvocate said...

Brave New World is a must read in my book. (Pun intended.)

The article is sickening. I'm certain that the pitfalls are many. Humans will never be able to do God's work no matter how hard they try.

Pixilated Mum said...

Egad. And may God have mercy on our souls. Geesh.

When you're done reading BNW, please post what you think about it.

I found the book to be just an incredible (shocking, troubling but highly engaging and thought-provoking) read.

Birdie said...

Scary, isn't it?