By Heather Long
A US baby born via IVF and genetically screened could open the door to wealthy parents selecting for ideal traits in their kids
When the world looks back at how the “designer babies” trend began, they will see an innocent start. A Philadelphia couple who had gone through the physical and emotional marathon of trying to have a child turned to intra-uterine insemination and ultimately IVF. Like any rational people, they wanted to do everything to increase their chances that IVF would work. In this case, they sent the embryos to an Oxford lab, which ran a kind of minimal DNA test to see which embryos would be most likely to take.
It’s hard to deny this Philadelphia couple the chance to be parents. David Levy and Marybeth Scheidts look very wholesome in their family photo holding their son Connor, born in May 2013. They clearly weren’t trying to select the embryo with their preferred hair or eye color or other physical or mental traits. In fact, they didn’t even have a full DNA analysis done, only a scan of the chromosomes, the structures that hold genes. This isn’t Brave New World-esque test tube babies. It’s a traditional family – with the best of modern medicine.
But that’s just it, not every couple will be like that.