February 25, 2009

Designer Babies No Longer Sci-Fi?

A fertility procedure developed to help screen embryos for genetic disease has been introduced as “cosmetic medicine” for parents looking to select a baby’s physical traits.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a Los Angeles-based clinic has already received a handful of requests for their new service: selecting traits such as hair, eye, skin color and gender.

The service is based on a technique called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, in which a fertilized egg is examined in a lab to screen out certain characteristics, such as inherited diseases, and then implanted in the womb.

Introduced in the 1990s for health purposes, many countries have banned PGD to select gender — yet a 2006 survey found that 40 percent of U.S. PGD clinics offered gender selection.

–Lauren Riggs and Newsdesk.org staff

Source:

“A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles — Hold the Colic”
The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2009

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