Say you’re about to start in vitro fertilization and your clinic offers you a futuristic new option: It can analyze the DNA of the embryos you conceive and let you choose which one to implant based on their genes.
No guarantees, but you can shoot for the best odds that a future baby will be as genetically healthy as current science can ascertain, with lower risks for common diseases like diabetes and cancer. Sound good?
About two thirds of Americans would say it does, recent Harvard research suggests. Nearly one third of those surveyed even say they would consider going through IVF for the sole purpose of such genetic screening.
Respondents also expressed concerns, though. Among them: Nearly three quarters worried that the testing could amount to eugenics, the push for genetic superiority propounded by Nazis and other 20th-century racists. Even more respondents worried that it could set up false expectations for a child. And that it could exacerbate inequality.
Plentiful fodder here for a lofty theoretical discussion by academic ethicists, it seems.
Except the discussion is no longer theoretical...