Thesis: parents should not be able to genetically modify their children since: this could create a further socioeconomic gap, the technology is newly formed and not completely safe, and it is immoral.
Argument 3: This type of augmentation of the human body would create a larger gap between socioeconomic classes leading to a stronger rivalry or even a war. This could also lead to children feeling “outdated”.
Evidence: “For example, taller people tend to be more financially successful in life, with one study showing that over a 30-year career, a six-foot tall person would make $166,000 more than someone five-foot five-inches. Almost all Fortune 500 CEOs are at least six-foot two-inches tall…” (Sherman 2017)
Anticipated Criticism: This would lead to prosperity in the future since children will be smarter and stronger.
Argument 2: This technology is still new and the long term effects of gene editing are unknown. Many of the traits of a person are more influenced by the environment than by the actual genes of a person.
Evidence: “Despite the advent of CRISPR, safe and effective gene editing for human enhancement remains well beyond our current technological capabilities. For the discussion about enhancing human beings to be worth having, then, we must assume that gene-editing technology will improve rapidly. However, rapid progress in the development and application of any technology comes at a price: obsolescence.” (Sparrow 2019)
Anticipated Criticism: Animal testing has proved our technology to be safe.
Response: We have never tested the long term effects of changing certain genes.
Argument 1: Parents want their children to be their own but they may end up feeling the societal pressure to change the genetics of their kid to help them achieve new accomplishments and not to feel outdated. This would also be morally wrong because the embryo cannot choose what happens but must live with the consequences even if it turns out badly due to genetic linkages.
Evidence: “This yearning to maintain the mysteries will likely temper the development of strategies to alter our genome and affect the genetic identities of our offspring. In my experience as an obstetrician and reproductive endocrinology and infertility subspecialist, people want to have, not the best possible baby, but rather their own baby” (Klipstein 2017).
Anticipated Criticism: The child would want to be the best that they can be and chose to help humanity rather than be normal. A child would also want to be at the same level as his or her classmates and not left behind by the genetic evolution of the others.
Conclusion: These reasons, from the socioeconomics to the ethical reasons, are why parents should not be able to modify their children.