We have many decisions that we make throughout our lives. Many are innocuous, but others have future impacts upon us and others. We can decide whether to smoke cigarettes, we can decide whether to cheat on income taxes, and so on. On some of our decisions, we intentionally choose outcomes that are financially or materialistically less desirable. We might support a colleague instead of trampling upon them to climb higher on the corporate ladder. We might choose to tithe to the church instead of investing that money in our 401K.
Technology is presenting new choices for reproduction that will affect the future human race. Doctors genetically develop cancer-free child in the U.K. explains that a woman in the U.K. had a history of breast cancer in her husband's family. By screening her embryos, geneticists were able to select an embryo without the BRCA-1 gene known to be associated with breast cancer. The correlation is relatively high - According to Baby to be born free of breast cancer after embryo screening, 50% to 75% females born with this gene will develop breast cancer. This technique, known as preimplantation diagnosis (PGD) selected two embryos for implantation into the woman's uterus. She is now 14 weeks pregnant.
11 embryos were created through IVF to produce the one surviving embryo now in the woman's womb. Many of us has at one time or another exclaimed, "I wish I had never been born!" On a practical side, PGD is permitting designer babies. Mmm. Fads change. Children with a tennis-playing gene might be popular today, but when they are 20 years old, what if everyone is playing chess? Our success in selecting future traits for the human race is going to be limited by our ability to predict the future. Sounds alarming, doesn't it?
I am concerned at an even more fundamental level. What is life? I believe it is more than a self-sustaining chemical reaction. If you are interested in how I foresee things such as PGD affecting our future, see my novel, Roman DNA.