Genetic Engineering: First Baby sans Cancer Gene born

Now i’m sure, irregardless of what you may believe, a number of folks on this forum would view this as a positive development.

This is of course the start as people have often dreamed of the “Designer Baby” - making their progeny faster, stronger, smarter, and eliminating any genetic material that could cause conditions/diseases.

So here’s my moral question of the day: Is this acceptable? If it is acceptable, why? If not or if you believe there are limitations - why?

im responding solely to the cancer gene-free portion, because if people want to pay for a blonde haired blue eyed paris hilton, then they shouldnt be allowed to have kids.

my question tho, is what kind of cancer does it eliminate. natural cancers that anyone can get, or cancers that are caused by something someone does? regardless of which, i believe this is a great thing, especially considering i lost my grandmother, who was my best friend and basically an awesome lady a little more than a week ago to cancer. it not only guarantees a slow and painful death, it usually requires slow and even more painful treatment. a cancer is a malicious organism, with no care if youre a good person, or if you deserve it. eliminating the possibility of getting such a foul thing is incredible, and wholly too expensive for anyone to afford, and will only be controlled by the most soulless of corporations…

Yeah, this is pretty bad journalism. Cancer is so many different diseases, many are not genetic but environmentally induced. If it is true, this child is less likely to contract the cancers caused by genetic glitches, like say, colon canger, but that is no guarantee at all.

Remember, nobody is immune from things like radiation, smoke and toxin ingestion, and other forms of stress and physical insult. Stuff happens. Nice that the kid may have a leg up on some of the nastier manifestations for now though. :slight_smile:

It is a specific type of genetic breast cancer that the child should not develop. No effect on any other cancers or diseases.

I believe that the Catholic Church teaches that genetic engineering of children is wrong because of the resulting attitude to a child as a commodity.

I have a life threatening genetic disorder myself - prior to my conversion if someone had told me that I could have a child guaranteed not to have it - that would have been a very tough call.

The thing is, even if you eliminate that threat, there are so many others that can occur…where would it end? Life is a risk…

As I understand it, no actual ‘engineering’ was done: the fetus was tested and found not to carry the gene.

It was then implanted, and allowed to come to term.

Had it carried the gene in question, it would have been destroyed.

As with all forms of eugenics, its nice for the chosen, not so much for those human lives discarded.

Yeah, that’s what I thought when I first read this story. This doesn’t appear to be genuine engineering. I think the procedure is called preimplantation genetic diagnosis. I wouldn’t think that qualifies as actual genetic engineering but I could be wrong.

Is this moral? I don’t think so, because the method relies on selecting a “healthy” embryo out of several made. That means other human beings are discarded because they are undesirable to their parents. It could and probably would lead to children becoming commodities, as another poster mentioned.

And what good is all this talk about parents giving their children the advantages of greater intelligence, beauty, strength, etc, through genetic engineering? It seems this would fail and here is why: let’s say that by 2012 you have a designer baby engineered to have an IQ of 125. Okay, that’s all well and good but then the science advances a little bit and by 2017, other parents are able to use recent advances to give their child an IQ of 140. A few years later and, well, you get the point. All you have done is to give your child a brief advantage. Within a few years of entering the workforce, younger and smarter designer people will show up and have the edge. Suddenly, your designer offspring is an older, obsolete model. It seems likely that a means of modifying human intelligence well into adulthood would be necessary. Then what is to become of this? A new rat race, so instead of just competing with the neighbors for the newer car and bigger house, you now have to compete for cognitive enhancements? Wow, what a world. The same applies to the other areas that people use as justification for creating designer babies, like beauty, strength, health, etc.

Ten tiny humans had to die for the cause.


If you are talking about the ability to have someone be born immune to disease. Why not?

If you are talking about someone being born per specifications height, weight, etc, you’re a sick person.

If you have to destory fetuses for any cause, again you’re sick.

I posted my answer here.

My initial response to this is that, while we all want our children to be healthy and immune from disease and illness, we seem to constantly want to get away from and reject suffering which is inherant in our human nature since the fall of Adam and Eve.

Great if they’re safe from GENETICally transmitted cancers, but I agree w/ the other posters that this is no guarantee from environmentally transmitted cancers. Anyway, what difference does all of this make if the child someday is in an aweful car accident and either becomes mentally or physically handicapped? If it isn’t one thing, it’s another! Have we forgotten about redemptive suffering?

I didn’t read the article, so I don’t know if this baby was manufactured from contraception or was later manipulated, but my concern would be this: if you’re removing the cancer gene, what else are you taking with it? I don’t know how genetics work, but are they possibly removing some other things w/ the cancer gene that are necessary for health? Then what? Could removing this gene actually CAUSE yet ANOTHER disease which would require decades up decades of research to cure? Where does it end?

Yes, I’ve gone off the deep end, someone throw me a life preserver!!!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit