Every parent wants their child to have the best start in life and no parent ever wants to see their child suffer — either from a something as minor as a scrapped knee or as serious as leukemia. While parents have an innate desire to spare their children from pain, it seems one company has taken that desire and gone off the deep end.
In a video interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cambrian Genomics CEO Austen Heinz described how his company is working on technology that would allow parents to genetically “plan” their children. The idea is that if only the “good” genes from both parents are combined to make a child, the little one will be spared from disease and disorders from birth.
“I can’t imagine, you know, after 10 to 20 years that people would not design their children digitally. It would be thought of as insane or barbaric,” Heinz said.
Currently there is little regulation for creating genetically modified “products”, which Heinz says is a good thing.
As interviewer Deborah Kan explained, “You’re taking out the bad parts of genetics and, so to speak, manufacturing them in a different way to put them back into an embryo to create a disease-free human being.”
To which Heinz replied, “We shouldn’t be getting diseases.”
So why not take it a step further and make sure that when a couple does have a child, they get the most “perfect” kind that science could buy.
After all, many pet owners thoroughly research the best breed of dog to buy to ensure they won’t have one that suffers from hip dysplasia later in life. Why shouldn’t parents be able to do the same by “designing” their babies?
In short because humans are humans — not customizable stuffed animals from your local Build-A-Bear shop.
As the Catechism states:
Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. (CCC 2258, emphasis added)
God allows us to participate not only in the supernatural life through the sacraments, but also in the natural life by reproducing. When we have a misguided idea of sex (as we have had all throughout human history since the Fall, but most notably since the Sexual Revolution), we then have a misguided view of human life and consequently, a misguided view of our ultimate destination.
A life filled with physical ailments, disease, and even early death is not something any parent would choose for their child and it’s natural to want to protect them from it at any cost. However, using synthetic genes to design your own baby is not the answer.
I think many people would be hard pressed to find a parent of a disabled child who would say that they wished their child had never been born or that their child is “imperfect” in their eyes.