Critics Blast 'Designer Baby' Clinic

LA Doc offers defect-screening technique to pick eye color
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Mar 2, 2009 1:39 AM CST

(Newser) – The founders of an embryo technology that identifies birth defects are furious that a leading Los Angeles fertility clinic is using their discovery to enable couples to choose baby traits like hair and eye color. The role of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis—which identifies thousands of characteristics in a three-day embryo—was intended to help screen out debilitating conditions, not create $18,000 "designer babies," they tell the Telegraph.

"I'm totally against this," said one of the scientists. "My goal is to screen embryos to help couples have healthy babies free of genetic diseases. Traits are not diseases." But the head of the fertility clinic, which already offers gender selection, calls the "cosmetic medicine" breakthrough "incredibly" exciting. "I live in LA and everyone here wants to have a straight nose and high cheekbones," he said.