Human genetic editing has become a reality. This terrifying advance in technology comes with high risks to not only those children who are genetically modified (without their permission I might add,) but to the whole human race. The repercussions of such meddling are far-reaching and potentially devastating.
What was once science fiction has now become a confirmed scientific possibility not only within reach, but being practiced illegally in China.
Scientists have discovered how to genetically edit embryos.
Frontiers in Genetics reports in the Journal article Parental Selective Reproduction: Genome-Editing and Maternal Behavior as a Potential Concern by Andrea Lavazza that a Chinese geneticist implanted two modified embryos into two women. Two women were impregnated with genetically modified children.
At the end of November 2018, Chinese geneticist He Jiankui declared he implanted embryos, that had been genetically modified with the CRISPR-Cas9 technique (Ran et al., 2013; Doudna and Charpentier, 2014), into two women…In January 2019, He was suspended from his university—Southern University of Science and Technology of China, in Shenzhen—and placed under house arrest by the Chinese authorities. (source)
The Chinese geneticist He Jiankui implanted the genetically modified embryos into two women after modifying the embryos in an attempt to make them more resistant to HIV. However, most research says that his experiment is unlikely to be successful. He is unlikely to have prevented HIV in the children and there are a whole host of side effects that come with his meddling, including the weakening of the immune system and risk to vital organs.
The procedure [CRISPR-Cas9 technique] has been the object of much criticism from the strictly medical-scientific point of view: among other things, it has been defined as "misguided, premature, unnecessary and largely useless" (Cyranoski, 2018). On the one hand, guaranteeing only partial genetic protection against HIV, which could also be obtained with other medical methods, the procedure, which has not yet been sufficiently tested, does not seem to compensate for the high risks it entails. (source)
The proponents of human genetic editing cite the possibilities of curing or preventing diseases as reasons to start (or in some cases continue) using the technique. However, genetic editing has yet to be proven as a viable option for disease prevention and the risks are many, dark, and murky. Many believe that genetic editing could be easily abused and even used for eugenics. It could be used for control by selecting only the offspring of the elite to have certain desirable qualities such as strength and intelligence leaving the rest of the population with specifically engineered weakened traits.
Technology is allowing parents to custom design their offspring.
In the meantime, ultrasound and DNA testing are allowing parents to do their own choosing, making having a child seem more like buying a car.
DNA testing paired with IVF is allowing some parents to attempt to have "the perfect child." Parents are now able to go to a fertility clinic, fertilize several embryos and then choose from among them based on the traits they want their child to have.
This article from the MIT Technology Review describes the test as "23andMe, but on embryos."
Handed report cards on a batch of frozen embryos, parents can use the test results to try to choose the healthiest ones. The grades include risk estimates for diabetes, heart attacks, and five types of cancer.
According to flyers distributed by the company, it will also warn clients about any embryo predicted to become a person who is among the shortest 2% of the population, or who is in the lowest 2% in intelligence. (source)