What do you think about designer babies?

Karine writes about her experience with IVF treatment and asks: would you choose the sex of your baby?

By Karine Ewart
What do you think about designer babies?

Credit: CanStock

Exactly seven years ago, my infertility story came to a happy end, when I gave birth to two healthy, happy baby boys. (Actually, both of them were breech, so I had a planned c-section.) Since then, despite vowing to NEVER, EVER forget what it feels like to be a part of the club of women who inject their bodies with pretty much anything in order to possibly get pregnant, I have to admit, I haven’t thought much about lying on a gurney, practically upside down, as a doctor inserted two embryos into my uterus as my husband sat on a chair behind me. (I do remember thinking, “This is the strangest way to make a baby!”)
But last Saturday, the peculiarity of the entire experience returned when I came across the Globe & Mail’s “Unnatural Selection,” by Carolyn Abraham.
When I went through IVF, it was early 2004. Things have changed since then, including the law that allowed our doctor to ask my husband and I if we wanted to choose the sex of our baby. As in, they would only implant female OR male embryos, if we so desired. “What would happen to the other ones?” I asked. We were told we could have them “discarded,” frozen for future use, or we could donate them to other couples or to laboratories for research purposes.
Um, no, thank you. We decided to keep all of ours. (After nine eggs were extracted and fertilized in a petri dish, only two made it to the transfer, a.k.a. Wyatt and Theo).  
But I wonder how many other couples made a different decision? And what other options were given to couples, then or now? It’s not as if there is a police officer listening outside of the doctor’s office or in the delivery room when your baby/babies arrive to check to see if you broke the “laws of fertility options.”
I am curious: If you were given the option, would you want to choose the sex of your baby? What about height, hair colour, superior memory or athletic ability? What about just ensuring they have the healthiest genes possible to live a long, disease-free life? When you are paying thousands of dollars in fertility treatments, maybe it just makes good shopping sense. Designer baby, anyone?

This article was originally published on Jan 11, 2012

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