Life and Death in the 21st Century. Pt.3, Designer Babies

Director: BBC
Year: 1999
Country: UK
Duration: 50 mins
Rating: N/A

Filed under: Eugenics and Genetic Enhancement, Documentary

It is already possible to select the sex of a prospective child - but how much power should parents have over the genetic make-up of their offspring? The technique of preimplantation diagnosis is available to parents who risk passing on genes which would result in a severely impaired child. Should the technique be limited to such cases? Preimplantation diagnosis can only be used to select embryos with inherited genes; it cannot be used to design babies. But implanting genes is a prospect that may become a reality in a few years and must be considered now. Gene implantation could correct genetic diseases at the embryonic stage but once this is done, it will be in demand for reasons other than the screening out of serious diseases. Dolly the sheep was the result of cloning, but many lambs were lost in gestation before the success of Dolly. Cloning and genetic implantation raise medical and social issues for which guidelines must be prepared while there is still time. (Aired BBC One, 7 April 1999, 22:20)

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This Biomedical Ethics Film Library is being presented in partnership with European Medical Students' Association (EMSA)