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September 17, 2012

VANCOUVER – So-called designer babies should be a "moral obligation," writes the editor-in-chief of the international Journal of Medical Ethics.

Professor Julian Savulescu told Readers Digest in the September issue that society is in a genetic revolution, and parents should be allowed to screen their children for personality defects to create "ethically better children."

"To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality," Savulescu wrote.

"Indeed, when it comes to screening out personality flaws such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children."


The Oxford professor said "rational design" would lead to a more intelligent and less violent society. "They are, after all, less likely to harm themselves and others."

Savulescu added parents already screen their children for disorders like Down's syndrome and cystic fibrosis.

"What's more, few people protested at the decisions in the mid-2000's to allow couples to test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes, and this pushes us a lot closer to creating designer humans," Savulescu said.

"Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now.

"Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance."

"Do these people have any idea what they are saying?" asked John Hof of United for Life B.C. "Did they not learn anything from history? Do we have to go down this path one more time?"

Hof said events like the Holocaust occur when eugenics ideas are broadcast in society.


Just because people have the scientific know-how to do something doesn't mean they have a moral obligation to do it, he said.

"We have a moral obligation to realize where it goes if we do."