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Inheritable Genetic Modification - Part 6

written by: •edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 12/30/2008

Learn about inheritable genetic modification and the issues associated with it.

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    Arguments for and against the use of Inheritable Genetic Modification Technology

    Pro Arguments for inherited genetic modification

    People who are treated with IGM technologies through reproductive cells are not considered objects as they are no different, theoretically, than people who are treated through non-reproductive cells.

    IGM technologies can actually be used to help treat the mentally disabled patients and allow them to live a “productive” life. IGM services could be made available to all people. However, the cost of the labor needs to be decided.

    There is a possibility that mutated genes could be turned off through IGM and thus prevent the passing of the genes. However, the long-term consequences need to be found out first.

    Lastly, IGM will occur if not outlawed because of high demand that could result.

    Con Arguments for the use of inheritable genetic modification

    IGM could lead to the development of new technologies that could create an expectation that parents have the choice of "pre-selecting" the traits they want their child to have. This is already possible at fertility clinics in the United States. This could cause cultural changes and lead to the treatment of humans as objects that can be manipulated without consequences.

    If pre-selection was allowed by law, it could increase the difference already present for the economically stabled class to the middle to lower class individuals. Would it be ethically correct for insurance companies to cover that cost that would be needed for pre-selection? If pre-selection were to be allowed by law, then is it a person’s right to allow for the choice of what traits they want their child to have if they can economically afford it?

    An argument that can be used against IGM is the claim that IGM technologies are eugenic. For example, if a couple did not want a baby to have certain traits and wanted to pre-select other traits, it could lead to the the loss of the common humanity.

    As has already been discussed, IGM can’t be a perfection for the prevention of genetic disorders occurring because random mutations can still occur. If a change in a gene (any gene) that leads to the development of a genetic disorder through IGM, will result in the current individual being affected physiologically and their family members will have an increased level of psychological stress that would not be around if IGM was not done.

    Lastly, there is no sound ethical argument for using humans as experimental objects.

    [continued in part 7]