Transhuman Babies and Human Pariahs 191
want a healthy baby can have one.”54 This explanatory statement is unsurprising, since the rapid
advance of genetic engineering technologies has been met with resistance. Regarding the three-parent baby born in Mexico, commentators from the scientific and scholarly community
condemned the work of the U.S. team that performed the procedure, calling it “irresponsible.”55
Attendees at the D.C. summit specifically raised the concern that contemporary gene-editing
technologies are a gateway to designer children, which in turn can exacerbate existing issues of
discrimination and social inequality by enabling parents to select their children’s features—such
as their skin tone.56 Human Genetics Alert57 Director, David King, expressed this concern when
he noted the need to prevent “[an] eugenic future in which the rich can buy themselves a baby with
built-in genetic advantages.”58
Will the rapid development of genetic engineering technologies truly lead to a “designer
baby” future as commentators fear? The answer to this question is not necessarily evident solely
from examining the recent developments in genetic engineering—as impressive as they may be. It
is further necessary to examine history and the recent changes in societal values favoring
enhancement technologies and behaviors. When examining the two in conjunction, it becomes
evident that a future of enhanced, designer children is no longer in question.
III. THE BIRTH OF THE TRANSHUMAN BRAIN-CHILD - TRANSHUMANISM, SOCIETY AND THE
CONSEQUENCES TO FUTURE GENERATIONS
a. A Brief Overview of Transhumanism
The obsession with enhancement of the human condition—such as the one evidenced by
the designer baby movement—stretches back to the earliest days of human society and has been
pervasive throughout history. The ancient Spartans, for example, inspected every newborn for
defects and discarded those who did not meet their standard of perfection.59 The Nazis ran state-sanctioned clinics known as Lebensborn in which they would care for single, pregnant women—
so long as they possessed the desired physical characteristics—in order to promote the “Aryan
race.”60 Due to their innate vulnerability—as evidenced by the aforementioned examples—this
obsession with “perfection” has naturally affected children, but its intellectual roots are broader
and have evolved into complex ideological movements with definite values affecting society in
general. Therefore, in order to understand the true implication of the eternal human quest for
perfection, and the ideological roots of the designer baby movement, it is necessary to understand
the modern incarnations of this ideal.
54 James Gallagher, MPs Say Yes to Three-Person Babies, BBC (Feb. 3, 2015), http://www.bbc.com/news/health-
55 Roberts, supra note 49.
56 Reardon, supra note 44.
57 “Human Genetics Alert (HGA) is a secular, independent public interest watchdog group, based in London, UK.”
About Us, HUMAN GENETICS ALERT, http://www.hgalert.org/aboutUs/ (Last visited May 12, 2017).
58 Knapton, supra note 38.
59 Evan Andrews, 8 Reasons It Wasn’t Easy Being Spartan, HISTORY (Mar. 5, 2013),
60 Mark Landler, Results of Secret Nazi Breeding Program: Ordinary Folks, N. Y. TIMES (Nov. 7, 2006),