Arguments for gene therapy and genetic engineering

Saviour siblings

  • Stem cells are taken from the umbilical cord, meaning there is no risk to the child.
  • It ensures that the new child is free from disease and is a tissue match for the sick sibling.
  • It is the loving thing to do for the sick sibling.

Somatic cell therapy

  • The health of their patients is a doctor's first consideration.
  • Somatic cell therapy can also help people with cancer.
  • It only affects the individual receiving treatment, posing no risk to future generations.

Germ line therapy

  • By changing the germ line, scientists prevent the disease occurring in future generations.
  • It ensures that people don't suffer.

Designer babies

Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): for diseases

  • Prevent late abortions of fetuses due to diseases or conditions.
  • Some of the conditions that are tested for cause tremendous suffering and loss of dignity, eg Huntington's disease.
  • If the condition is genetic the parents may already be caring for a child with this condition.

Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS): screening for gender

  • Some diseases are linked to gender, eg Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which only males suffer from. Females can carry the gene. They do not suffer from the condition although a small percentage may experience mild muscle weakness.
  • Some parents would abort a female fetus for non-medical reasons. The screening prevents this from happening, as only male embryos are implanted.
  • Some say that parents have the right to choose.

Enhancement: for qualities

  • Humans improve themselves through education and training. Why not contribute to potential before birth?
  • We already improve crops and animals. Why not humans?
  • Evolution is a change in the inherited characteristics of a population of organisms from one generation to the next. This happens anyway and genetic enhancement is just speeding up this natural process.

Embryology

  • Research will lead to cures for more diseases and conditions.
  • Embryos are currently the best source of stem cells. Stem cells could be used to grow replacement organs or cure spinal injuries and other diseases and conditions.