If you could choose your baby, would you? A tall, smart, funny, blue-eyed kid without any genetic diseases or perhaps a baby who took the best parts of you and your partner. How does it sound to you?
Now a New Jersey startup company, Genomic Prediction offers a baby-picking test. The company claims that by using DNA measurements, it can predict which embryos from an IVF procedure are least likely to have any of the most common 11 diseases. The company will release a case study on its first clients in the near future.
The company will hand report cards on frozen embryos, in which the grades include risk estimates for diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, and five types of cancer. Parents can use the results to choose the healthiest embryo.
Also, the test can predict any embryo that can become a person who's among the shortest 2% of the population or who's in the lowest 2% in intelligence.
The test is still at a preliminary stage. The company has tested some embryos but CEO of the startup, Laurent Tellier said he is unsure if any have been used to initiate a pregnancy.
The company has been criticized by some genetic researchers. Graham Coop, a geneticist at the University of California, Davis said in a recent report, "It is irresponsible to suggest that the science is at the point where we could reliably predict which embryo to select to minimize the risk of disease. The science simply isn’t there yet."
Nathan Treff, one of the co-founders of the startup and a testing expert, says that even the fertile couples may start to have IVF to choose the best child for themselves.
What do you think? Are we going to see identical children everywhere soon?