While the test has yet to be used, New Scientist reports that the firm has begun discussions with IVF clinics in the United States to make it available to prospective parents.
Joseph Capizzi, professor of moral theology at The Catholic University of America told CNA that the trend toward “designer babies” adding that a fear of “imperfect” offspring is leading to children being treated as goods, rather than people.
The test would be able to screen embryos for a potential “mental disability,” Genomic Prediction says.
While screening embryos for a certain sex, blood type or inheritable disease has existed for some time, screening for potential “mental disability” is new. Embryonic genetic testing is already often used as a pretense for the abortion of some embryos, or the destruction of some embryos created during the in vitro fertilization process.
“The problems with this are obvious,” said Capizzi. These kinds of tests “treat human beings as things to be produced, sold or bought.”
Although those behind test say they do not specifically seek to identify embryos that contain genes linked to higher intelligence, Genomic Prediction co-founder Stephen Hsu said that he believes there will be a demand for this service in the future.
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“I think people are going to demand that. If we don’t do it, some other company will,” said Hsu in New Scientist.
Currently, something called a “polygenic risk score” can be calculated for adults. This score is calculated after an examination of a person’s genes to identify increased risks for heart disease, dementia, or breast cancer. Until now, this has not been available for embryos.
Capizzi warned that a mentality of parents wanting a supposedly genetically perfect “designer” child will have dire effects on how people view others.