The Perfect Child

| March 21, 2014 | 4 Comments

If you could create your perfect child, what would she be like? (Or he, but mine would be a girl because they’re way cuter.) And you’d want to be sure she had no illnesses, right? Where would you draw the line concerning what you could choose about your baby? Well, it’d cost you a lot of money, but this is doable, thanks to “in vitro fertilization,” and an ever-improving process of testing embryos before they start turning into a child.

Amanda Kalinsky has Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease, which means she’s not going to live much longer, but she still wanted to have kids, and she wanted them to be free from her disease. They took 12 eggs from her, and six had the disease. Those six eggs had to be discarded, and a lot of people don’t seem to like that. Although, my question is, what’s the difference between that and all the other eggs that women never use? This process saves a baby from a possible early death.
But in vitro fertilization can be used to test the sex of your baby as well. So, tossing the diseased eggs makes sense. But say I just wanted to toss the boy eggs so I could have myself a little girl? I don’t think that’s exactly how it works, but I do believe that we’re getting close to the science that can make it work like that. And once we can do it, is it ethical? Honestly, I hesitate to say it’s okay because I’m sure there are many who disagree, but I think it’s just the same as the diseased eggs. No, I’m not saying being male is a disease, of course. I meant that if discarding sick eggs is okay, then discarding eggs in general is okay. This could start going into the topic of abortion, but that’s not where I want to go, so let’s turn this discussion around. What I’m really interested in is the choice that the parent is making to essentially select a certain aspect of the child.

These parents chose put their baby in a bowl. Adorable Little Girl022 by jamie Solorio

These parents chose to put their baby in a bowl.
Adorable Little Girl022 by jamie Solorio

Let’s imagine we live in the year 3014, and we can basically put together our children like robots — we can choose not only their sex but their hair and eye color, even personality traits as well. Everyone would basically have super-babies, right? That sounds dangerous, but only because it’s something new. This testing of eggs is new, so it’s scary to us. Maybe we’re not supposed to have this power, but then why do we have it now? If we have developed the science to choose the sex of our children, I think we’ve earned it. Now, just because we’ve developed the atom bomb doesn’t mean we should be allowed to use it. But we’re not hurting anyone with this. The freedom of choice is what America is all about, right?
My stance on this is pretty clear to me, so I’m interested to hear from the other side. Imagining the cost is irrelevant, if you have a preference for the sex of your baby, or anything else about the baby, why wouldn’t you want to be able to make that choice?

Featured image: Newborn Portrait Session by Krista Guenin

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Category: featured, Politics, Science and Technology

Kate Conroy

About the Author ()

Kate Conroy comes from a small town in South Jersey where she has two little sisters and many cats. She is a Leo and an English major, and she will defend the Oxford comma forever. She is extremely controlling, and that's probably why she writes fiction. She also watches too much television and takes too many pictures of herself. Follow her on twitter and instagram: @K4TE8

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  1. The Perfect Child: What Happens Next? | Culture Shock | April 9, 2014
  1. J. says:

    I agree, to an extent. As an individual, you have the right to make yourself happy, you have the right to make decisions based upon your personal needs and desires. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this because it is your life, your needs, your wants; as long as they have no harmful effect on the life of anyone else.

    But having a child is perhaps the single most selfless act a person, particularly a woman, can commit. When we decide to have a child, we basically agree to sacrifice the remainder of our lives to loving and caring for another human being, one that we are connected to in a way we aren’t connected to anyone else. All the money we earned by pursuing that career we chose, we spend on the child to see them smile. Those precious nights of long hours of sleep, we give them up to ward off the nightmares.

    We all want the best for our child; the best school, the best career path, the best friends and connections. We hope for them to be attractive and smart and successful. Parents will always adoringly, and with the best interests at heart, try to make decisions for their child. And at some point, every parent realizes they have to sacrifice the dreams they have for their child so that they can full-heartedly, unabashedly support the child in whatever decision she (or he) may make.

    Because that child is its own person, its own human being, with its wants and needs and hopes.

    Right now, in 2014 and in most cases, the looks and traits of a child is based nearly randomly on the genetics of their ancestors. Looking at it unscientifically, I ended up with blonde hair because that’s just how it worked out. No one person chose this trait for me.

    But I’ve always wanted dark hair. So, I chose to dye it. And when I wanted to try curls, I permed it. I took what was (basically) randomly given to me and have individually, actively tried to change it according to my own personal desires.

    Now, what if my parents had chosen to give me blonde hair? If having a child with blonde hair was their happiness, what right would I have to take that away because I selfishly preferred dark hair? If the child they dreamed up and actively created had stylish, straight and shiny hair, do I really have the right, and the courage, to tell them that they made the wrong choice?

    A parent choosing how their child looks and acts disregards the individuality of the child. The child will, from birth, lose what is perhaps one of the key elements in discovering who you are, what makes you unique, your own person.

    Individuality is a part of human nature. “Why do I look and act the ways I do?” is a question as intimidating as “Why do I exist?” And the beauty of these questions is not having a set answer, because it allows us to act as individuals. Losing those questions is like losing a part of what makes us human.

  2. Hmmmmm says:

    So a process that can give you a super baby at a high price….. No way rich people being the only ones who can have the smartest and best children could POSSIBLY go wrong.

  3. DS says:

    when we have children, obviously we all hope for the best, smartest, prettiest, nicest, most wonderful and “perfect” child that fits our opinion of perfect. so let’s pretend that my ideal child is a redheaded female, artsy, independent, sarcastic, but well grounded in recognizing the importance of family. a stretch, i know, but we’re pretending that’s my vision of a “perfect” child. and let’s pretend someone came up to me and said, “yo, buddy. that perfect child you want. there’s this button, see. for two grand, you press this button, i guarantee you’ll get your perfect child.” and i pay the two grand, and i get my child. how is that anyone’s business but mine? it’s not as if nine children were born, and i picked one and said, “okay, the other eight, throw ‘em back.”

    there’s a great hypocrisy about babies. we all hope for the best, but there’s this idea that we have to take what we get. no we don’t. if a woman is impregnated, and if an amnio-centesis shows that the child will suffer great birth defects and spend its life in a hospital, likely dying before reaching age 10, i’m expected to be the “noble” parent and go through with that. why? two words – the bible.

    i don’t advocate having constant abortions until tests show that the child on the way is the exact child that you want. i don’t advocate that at all, and i’m trying to stay away from the abortion debate. however, if a couple, or a prospective parent, can sit down as if they’re picking out a car or home, and if – without disposing of any conceptus – they can design the child that meets their idea of “perfect,” i see nothing at all with which to disagree.

    and to those who try to say, “you can’t compare a child to a car!” i say, “right, and i’m not.” what i’m comparing is the right of anyone to have exactly what they want if there is the ability to do so without harming anyone or anything else. if a yellow house makes me happy, i can have that. if a blue car makes me happy, i can have that. and if a dark-haired boy with blue eyes makes me happy, then i dare you to explain why i can’t have that.

    bring it on.

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