Alien Species


What is your opinion of 'designer babies'?

'Designer Babies' is an idea that is often used throughout the sci-fi genre - sometimes involving genetic engineering, eugenics, etc.

Oddly, my first knowledge of such a notion came when I was in Assembly one day at school. Our headteacher was talking about the future and talked about the designer babies idea - saying that one day in the future, a parent could just decide for themselves the desirable traits they wanted their child to have. Although I don't remember all of what the headteacher said as I was only about 7 or 8 years old at the time, but even then I found myself with a strong rejection of that idea.

Since then, I've come across it more times such as in the 1997 film 'Gattaca', where - in the future - potential children are conceived through genetic manipulation to ensure they possess the best hereditary traits of their parents and no negative traits such as disabilities, etc. Those who are 'created in the eugenics program are called 'Valids' while those who are born naturally are called 'In-Valids'. The film itself focuses on a man called Vincent Freeman, who is born traditionally and has a lot of 'defects', with the film showing him trying to overcome the genetic discrimination he faces to try and realise his dream of becoming an Astronaut. The film itself not only looks at the postives/negatives of eugenics but also the idea of destiny.

Another example is in the 2013 film 'Man of Steel', from which Krypton relies on artificial birth control and with every child been born to fufill a specific task in Krypton's society; such as worker, warrior, leader, etc. Jor-El and his wife Lara (Superman's mother and father) disagree with it and feel Krypton had 'lost something precious' - with Jor-El asking "What if a child desired more than what society had chosen for them? What if a child aspired to something greater?". It's for thise reason that their son Kal-El (Superman) is born naturally so he will be "Free to create his own destiny".

What is your opinion on this idea?

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