Within three decades sexual intercourse will no longer be necessary to conceive a child. Instead, parents will choose from a range of embryos made with their DNA in a laboratory, a Stanford professor claims.
Hank Greely, who directs Stanford Law School's Center for Law and Biosciences, believes that although the reproductive technology already exists to create life outside of the womb, over time the process will become less expensive, as Quartz reported Saturday.
When many embryos are created couples will be able to choose which ones they want and screen out the embryos that carry potential for diseases, he said.
Greely also believes that parents will one day be able to select the hair and eye color for their children, and eventually even more complex traits like intelligence.
"I don't think we're going to be able to say this embryo will get a 1550 on its two-part SAT," Greely said last week at Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. "But, this embryo has a 60 percent chance of being in the top half, this embryo has a 13 percent chance of being in the top 10 percent — I think that's really possible."
"I think one of the hardest things about this will be all the divorces that come about when she wants embryo number 15 and he wants embryo number 64," the professor said. "I think the decision making will be a real challenge for people. How do you weigh a slightly higher chance of diabetes with slightly lower risk of schizophrenia against better musical ability and a much lower risk of colon cancer? Good luck."
The process in lab "involves taking a female skin sample to create stem cells, which is then used to create eggs," the article explained. Those eggs are then fertilized with sperm which results in a selection of embryos.
Greely dismissed concerns that he is somehow advocating creating "perfect" children even as ethical issues remain.
"This is not designer babies or super babies," he maintained. "This is selecting embryos. You take two people, all you can get out of a baby is what those two people have."
From a Christian standpoint, however, completely divorcing sex from its procreative function proves problematic as the thinking Greely expresses is indicative of modern culture which regards the human body as a mere vehicle and children as commodities.
In a recent interview with The Christian Post, bioethicist and filmmaker Jennifer Lahl explained how the fertility industry is fraught with abuses and expressed her frustration with pastors who don't preach about infertility and reproductive issues even though they frequently appear in the Bible.
"[Christians] have full permission to speak about how children come into the world. They are gifts, they are blessings," Lahl said.
But the Bible never establishes that anyone is entitled to them and most people today, regardless of their faith background, operate with "shallow theological thinking on the most profound matters of making human life," she added.
"Make no mistake, once we move into the laboratory, we are making children. They are not begotten, they are made. They are manufactured."