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Design YOUR baby... Custom-Made Babies Delievered..

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What do you think about this?

Custom-made babies delivered: Fertility clinic doctor's design-a-kid offer creates uproar

BY Gina Salamone

Tuesday, March 3rd 2009, 3:06 AM

Boy or girl? Blond or brunette? Blue eyes or brown? Fertility doc thinks he can deliver. Photo Illustration by Isaac Lopez/News

Boy or girl? Blond or brunette? Blue eyes or brown? Fertility doc thinks he can deliver.

Dr. Jeff Steinberg has already let thousands decide their kids' gender. Now he says that within the next six months, the Manhattan and L.A. offices of his Fertility Institutes will let would-be moms and dads pick whether junior has blue or brown eyes or black or blond hair.

"In the process of doing gender selection ... we've also uncovered the technology [to] characterize things like eye and hair color," said Steinberg, 54.

The idea of a Build-A-Bear style baby was slammed Monday by bioethicists and right-to-life groups - and Pope Benedict has warned against it for years.

The Pope railed against the "obsessive search for the perfect child" just two weekends ago. "A new mentality is creeping in that tends to justify a different consideration of life and personal dignity," he said.

Steinberg countered that reproductive technologies aren't about to go away.

"Genetic health is the wave of the future," he said. "It's already happening and it's not going to go away. It's going to expand. So if they've got major problems with it, they need to sit down and really examine their own consciences because there's nothing that's going to stop it."

Custom-made kids will be achieved through preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, the procedure used to weed out problem embryos and to allow parents to choose a gender.

In letting parents decide what traits their kids have, doctors will examine the genetic makeup of embryos created in the lab and implant the ones that have the best chance of giving mom and dad what they want.

Some doctors question Steinberg's ability to give parents their pick of traits.

"He's the only one offering this because you can't yet do it," said Sean Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Technology. "Nobody can do this right now."

Dr. William Kearns, head of the Shady Grove Center for Preimplantation Genetics in Rockville, Md., disagrees. His research has identified genes relating to northern European skin, hair and eye pigmentation, but he won't use it to let parents design their kids.

Steinberg, one of the doctors who helped produce the first test-tube baby, admits the technology isn't 100% - and says for now the best results are with couples of Scandinavian heritage, whose gene pools are the least diluted.

"Say you made seven embryos, and one of them has got the highest chance of green eyes, and that chance is 80%. It's not perfect science because eye and hair color are not perfect genetics," said Steinberg, who opened an office on E. 40th St. two months ago.

There are no laws in New York that address how PGD testing can be used. Opponents say there should be.

Lori Kehoe, executive director of the New York State Right to Life Committee, is upset that the embryos deemed undesirable will be destroyed.

She said it is "sickening to flush a member of the human family down the drain" because they are not considered perfect.

Prof. Alexander Capron, bioethicist and professor of law and medicine at the University of Southern California, called Steinberg's procedure problematic. "The notion of unconditional love and support - which is assumed to be what parents owe their children - is totally undermined here," he said.

"You're saying I want to order up just what I want and that's what I'll love."

One New York doctor even likened it to the pursuit of a master race.

"We're crossing the line into eugenics, the theory of trying to give people enhanced characteristics - genetic engineering to make sort of the superman or superwoman," said Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, director of ethics at New York Medical College and St. Vincent's Hospital.

With Nancy Dillon in Los Angeles and Nicole Lyn Pesce in New York

by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 7:11 AM
Replies (11-18):
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 1:02 PM

One word ... Eugenics

Now we are going to start quantifying the value of human life.

Dare I say .... Brave New World?

by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 3:04 PM

What if the baby dosent come out EXACTLY how they ordered it and paid for?  Then what, they cant take it back! I agree with PP this is ridiculous!

by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 4:01 PM


Mommy to Caleb Grant 11-16-07 My Sunshine

"Be careful little feet where you go, for it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow" -Casting Crowns

"if you dont want to stand behind our soliders feel free to stand in front of them" unknown

by Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 7:38 PM

i don't like this idea at all...however at the same time if I could have arranged for my daughter to have avoided getting my genetic disorder I think I would have.  I wouldn't have changed anything about her that they talk about, but I would have given her healthy teeth and joints.

I must take issue with the term 'a mere child,' for it has been my invariable experience that the company of a mere child is infinitely preferable to that of a mere adult. -  Fran Lebowitz                                                            

by Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 7:51 PM

Not trying to judge your point of view, however, what does Stem Cell research at any level, at all have to do with "choosing" what the heck your baby looks like?  

Quoting IdaKaye:

I guess the stim cell advocates just love this!   More little embryos deemed "trash" they can kill for research.  No one likes to discuss the "inferiors", we just see them as a commodity.

by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 8:17 PM

Quoting IdaKaye:

I guess the stim cell advocates just love this!   More little embryos deemed "trash" they can kill for research.  No one likes to discuss the "inferiors", we just see them as a commodity.

Of course because stem cell advocates just love the idea of death...right? That's a pretty discriminatory implication to make. Just because someone sees the potential for creating life saving new cells with stem cells means that automatically they are cool with neo nazi construction of the "perfect" child, or that hey lets just start killing embyos so we can have more stem cells. This is the kind of inconciderate comment from "antichoice" advocates that make me mad. Those that only care about embryos and not the rest of civilization. See how much generalizations hurt?

by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 8:26 PM

Ok, this is really creepy and reminds me of Hitlers quest to rid the world of those who are not perfect. Many forget that it wasn't only Jewish people who were targeted by Hitler and his Nazis. Though they by far recieved the brunt of his attacks, his targets would eventually have become everyone that did not meet his order for  blonde haired blue eyed perfect people. No brunettes, no green eyes, no brown eyes, no red hair. If Hitler were around today he would be funding this research.

I do approve of genetic research in the field of being able to isolate genes that predict tendencies for things like Parkinsons, MS and things like that. But to use genetic research for cosmetic purposes is disgusting, and to just throw away the embryos that are imperfect is horrible. I am prochoice, especially in circumstances where the mothers life is in danger, and can see the benefits of using those unwanted embryos for stem cell research, but to waste the opportunity for human life out of conceit is wrong.

by on Mar. 4, 2009 at 12:16 AM

This disgusts me. What is the world coming to....why is everyone obsessed with perfection?? 

in lovetoddler girlbaby boyHappily married to Erik 04.12 and proud mommy to Isabella Grace 11.01.06 and Camden Bjorn 09.18.08



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