fertility | July 6, 2017

Making babies the new-fashioned way

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Advances in fertility treatments and gene selection could make sex passe — as a way to get pregnant.

Hank Greely, director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Law and the Biosciences says in two or three decades most American babies will begin with the selection of embryos created in a lab with their parents’ DNA.

“People, particularly where I live in Silicon Valley, will want to do it to get their perfect egg,” Greely said at this week’s Aspen Ideas Festival, reports Quartz.

Beyond any ethical concerns, the rise of such designer babies raises a host of social and political questions.

Greely says low-income parents, at least in the U.S., will get access to advanced reproductive technology for free, because the cost of such fertility treatments will be a fraction of the avoided costs of caring for sick babies. But there’s likely to be a gap between rich and poor countries.

“Should his vision come to pass, wealthy nations such as the US and China could begin this practice long before Somalia, for example,” writes Quartz’sOlivia Goldhill.

“And so it seems almost inevitable that the world would become genetically divided between those who can breed out the flaws, and those who cannot.”