Genetic selection is ‘a moral obligation’

Creating designer babies is simply a matter of “responsible parenting”, a leading academic has argued.

Creating designer babies is simply a matter of “responsible parenting”, a leading academic has argued.

Julian Savulescu, professor in practical ethics at Oxford University, said that genetically screening embryos to create better people could be considered as a “moral obligation”.

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Writing in the Reader’s Digest, he argues that screening for personality traits could mean that children are “ethically better”.

If parents had a choice over their children’s character it could mean they are less likely to harm themselves and others, he said.

“Screening embryos like this is illegal at present, but isn’t rational design something we should welcome?” he said.

“If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring – rather than consigning them to the natural lottery – then we should.

He continued: “Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?

“So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice.

“Indeed, when it comes to screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and dispositions to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children.

“They are, after all, less likely to harm themselves and others.”