Friday, May 19, 2006

Forget the slope

Things are already pretty damn slippery.

I know they do lots of things really, super-awesome well, like provide accurate sex-education information to teenagers and sign the Kyoto accord, but Europe's also creeping me out these days.

Here's a story from England, about permitting the genetic testing and then discarding of embryos without severe genetic disorders. That's right, you can mix up a batch of embryos in a lab, scan them, and if they have a strong genetic chance of getting cancer in their forties toss them out with the bathwater and start again. This is terrifying. Forget all the people who have made enormous, important contributions to the world between ages zero and forty-five, forget the fact that you're dealing with chances, not definite knowlege -- this is designer babies. The future is already here. It's taking the freaky, picky, consumerist language used by the mothers-by-choice profiled here and adding the life-is-something-you-can-buy philosophy of this lady. It's aiming for perfection and it is, as is, eugenics.

Maybe it's just because I read Never Let Me Go last month, but reading these stories together makes me feel like the day is not long off when women and men in poverty will be selling their eggs, sperm, uteruses, kidneys, and blood to create and support a ruling class of body buyers, armed with their credit cards and a belief (as told them by their credit cards) that they deserve the best, whether that's a tall, blond, disease-free child or a brand-new heart.

I know, I know, I know it's really difficult to have disabled children or to have people die in middle age of diseases that could be prevented with transplants. But I am deeply freaked out that this is the way the market is choosing to deal with it.

1 comment:

8yearoldsdude said...

sorry, I don't buy it. if such a market does develop, it will (hopefully) be everyone's choice to engage in it. If people are foolish enough to choose a homogenous model of children, think of the advantage that different children will have both in terms of novelty (MHCs et al) as well as skills. By your logic it is people's conspecific duty to mate with all available partners regardless of shortcoming. we already mate assortatively.