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Designer Babies

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Duration: 0:21:21 | Added: 31 May 2011
The term 'designer baby' is usually used in a pejorative sense - to conjure up some dystopian Brave New World. There are already ways to affect what kind of children you have - most obviously by choosing the partner to have them with.

But there are others too: a pregnant mother can improve her baby's prospects by not smoking, for instance. With advances in genetics, however, there will soon be radical new methods to select or influence the characteristics of your progeny: not just physical characteristics, like height or eye colour, but intellectual capacities, and capacities linked to morality - such as how empathetic the child will be. The big question is how much freedom parents should have to make such selections. Julian Savulescu of Oxford's Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, believes that if we can genetically alter the next generation, not only should we be free to do so, it may even turn out that in some circumstances we have an obligation to go ahead and so it.

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