Transhuman Babies and Human Pariahs 197
aptitude for a specific type of sport.120 Parents make their children engage in demanding activities
to develop superior abilities in, for example, music and sports, regardless of the negative effect
those activities may have to the children’s well-being.121 While some may draw a distinction
between behaviors which may be considered akin to selective breeding122 and nurturing,123 and
genetic engineering, the underlying value is the same: people want to have active control over their
offspring’s traits to “enhance” their abilities and traits through whatever means are available to
The transition of Transhumanism’s values into mainstream society is also reflected in
current reproductive technologies and their applications. Women have the option to abort due to
genetic abnormalities discovered during pregnancy.124 For women undergoing in-vitro
fertilization, preimplantation genetic screening and diagnosis are also available to detect an
underlying genetic condition125 which can lead them to decide to terminate a pregnancy.126 Women
can also decide the sex of their future child if they chose this option during in-vitro fertilization.127
Children are therefore, being born as a result of the conscious choice of an embryo over another
due to a particular trait. As legal scholar Maxwell Mehlman notes, “these reproductive behaviors
are forms of germline genetic engineering, because they influence the genes that will be passed on
to future generations and they collectively have a gradual impact on the evolutionary make-up of
the human species.”128
In light of this societal shift towards perfection through various means, opponents are
therefore rightly concerned about the consequences of the designer baby movement on the
collective human biological future.129 However, the ongoing discussion must take into account the
potential impact of the technology’s implementation on a crucial subset of the population—the
“designer children” themselves. As those who will be directly affected, is fair and necessary to
address the consequences specifically as to them.
b. The Consequences of Genetic Engineering to Children and Future Generations
120 Id. at 103.
121 Id. at 105. Mehlman notes that for example, elite girl gymnasts evidence psychological problems when they grow
up: “[they] had problems expressing emotion and some had real problems with men. They’d go with… abusive men,
because that’s what they’d become used to. And they were very immature socially. . . .” Id.
122 Selective breeding, such as in the context of domesticated animals, involves the purposeful breeding of
specimens of the species containing desirable characteristics. See Natural Selection and Selective Breeding, BBC,
http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/guides/z6trd2p/revision/3 (last visited Apr. 4, 2017).
123 Nurturing is defined in part as “the sum of environmental factors influencing the behavior and traits expressed by
an organism.” Nurture, MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nurture
(last visited May 12, 2017).
124 Mark Lawrence Schrad, Does Down Syndrome Justify Abortion? N. Y. TIMES (Sept. 4, 2015).
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/opinion/does-down-syndrome-justify-abortion.html. For example, it estimated
that two thirds of pregnant women chose to abort if Down Syndrome is detected during the pregnancy. Id.
125 MEHLMAN, supra note 48, at 26. See also Richard Sherbahn, Preimplantation Genetic Screening – PGS for
Aneuploidy With IVF; Does PGS with Chromosomal Tests of Embryos Improve IVF Success?,
http://www.advancedfertility.com/pgs-ivf-genetic-testing.htm (last visited May 12, 2017).
126 Schrad, supra note 124.
127 Nara Schoenberg, For Some IVF Patients, a Choice: Do You Want a Boy or a Girl?, CHI. TRIB. (Oct. 14, 2015),
128 Mehlman, supra note 25, at 94.
129 Annas, Andrews & Isasi, supra note 13, at 161.