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Genetic Repairs To Embryos?

Posted on 17th July 2018

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This article by the BBC describes the results of an Inquiry into the ethical issues surrounding genetically altering a human embryo; their conclusion is that there is “no absolute reason not to pursue it”.

This seems to me to be the thin end of the wedge. Once genome editing of human embryos is partially allowed, it will only be a matter of time before absolutely anything is allowed in this area of medicine. Then we will be in the age of designer babies.

The question in my mind is, what problem, exactly, are we trying to solve with this? Clearly there are more than enough people on our planet already: over 7 billion and rising. There are also plenty of children available for adoption and fostering (which I have done), so there is no inherent problem of childless couples wanting to raise kids.

The core of the problem is that people want to raise children: their own children, not somebody else’s kids. People carrying genetic code causing illness and death, often making their embryos non-viable, still want to conceive, give birth to and raise children.

The question is, just because we can, should we be spending our tax money on enabling them to do so? Do people really (as so many seem to think) have a right to reproduce: yet another “inalienable human right” to add to the ever-growing list? If the human race were at risk of extinction due to low reproductive rates or genetic disease, I would say yes, we should help them, but that is far from the case, and I certainly do not subscribe to the idea that anyone has a right to reproduce.

I am sure many people disagree with my position on this very strongly. In that case, feel free to support the necessary medical research and costs of providing the service of genetic fixes to aid reproduction, yourselves (i.e. by private charitable donations). I do not want my tax being spent on this.