Poll: Would you have a genetically modified baby?


Please tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did.

8 thoughts on “Poll: Would you have a genetically modified baby?

    • Hi Stuart,
      Great point. I had debated having 2 polls segregated by the motivation behind the consideration of having a designer baby (and I may do that later), but sometimes a single poll can best capture current sentiment overall.

  1. If I could have been (safely) genetically modified to avoid type I diabetes at 13, I would have said, yes please. If I had known I was going to lose my hair at 28, I would have said, go ahead. If I had realized that I would lose cardiac and motor neuron functions after a stroke at 45, I would have asked for inducible stem cells to be inserted.

    It’s all about health, but even here, where do you draw the line? Do people still read Aldous Huxley?

  2. I’m with Stuart Atkinson.

    It seems that whenever I see people interviewed about designer babies, that they want their child to be an artist of some kind. Do they know any artists? Do they have any idea how rare artistic talent is not? Aside from the ridiculous idea that an artist can be created genetically, are they planning on supporting the arts, because there’s a good chance they’d be supporting that child even if they did turn out to be artists?

  3. If technology is safe, I would go for full benefits: beauty, brains, extended health span, extended life span, etc.
    Reason being, others will do it anyway (just refer to what the Chinese team tried earlier this year), and while we contemplate that and that and not choosing to do it, our kids will compete in a world with other kids that are better looking, much more healthier, smarter, resistant to lots of disease, etc. So nolens volens they will be pushed aside by competition. We just stepped in an accelerated and controlled evolutionary process, and there is no turning back.

  4. I voted “definitely yes”. Which is not to be confused with “yes without restrains”. As mentioned by others, it depends on the context. If I were a carrier for a mutation that could cause CF or beta-thalassemia or sickle cell or any other known genetically defined disease, I think it would be inhuman to ban the use of technology to remove such mutations. Of course, this means that the genetically modified embryo will suffer little or no side-effects of the genetic modification(s) made.

    If it is to create more muscle or change the color of someone hair or eyes, I personally see no reason to do it, in the same way I never had the urge to try to use marijuana while growing up in the Netherlands where it is readily available for consumption. But again, this hinges on the side-effects of genetically modifying an embryo. If there are no side-effects at all (once the technology has fully matured, which at this stage is certainly not the case), I see little reason to prohibit this, though. Yet, at this point the technology is far too premature to be used in humans.

    One way to create some policy-driven direction to what is genetic modifications are considered more appropriate than others is having certain health-related modifications covered by health insurances, while other modifications will have to be paid out-of-pocket. Far from ideal, and it certainly will create a financial barrier for some if not most people, but than again, in the US, this barrier for general health care needs already exist. Another question that can only be answered by time and real-life experimentations, is how this technology could affect society at its core with regards to making babies (mate selection + family planning) and what is expected from GMO babies by their parents and society, especially those who would have received non-health-related genetic modifications. This is also ignoring the use of this technology in biotech, agriculture, and other uses of genetically modified species, such as pest control. Interesting times we live in.

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