Now that scientists have identified the various genes that cause numerous disorders, doctors can test individuals for some of these disorders. For example, by analyzing a blood sample. Genetic tests are available for a growing number of diseases including hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and Tay-Sachs disease. With rapid advances in genetics, many more tests are becoming available. Chromosomes also can be analyzed under a microscope to see if there are problems that could potentially harm future children. Altering the inherited characteristics of an organism in a predetermined way, by introducing it into a piece of the genetic material of another organism, offers the hope of cures for many inherited diseases.

Some people are now talking about gene therapy, which involves inserting new genes into living people. But this would merely serve to alienate children from their parents, because the genes they inherit would be replaced with foreign ones. And it is doubtful whether this strategy would work after a certain age in any case, as humans develop in irreversible stages. Most of our genes only have an effect early in our development, laying out our body and brain structure in a certain way, then remaining dormant for the rest of our lives. I feel that using this form of gene therapy just to get a desired result when nothing seems to be wrong is unethical. I mean why play around with the gene pool just to have the child you desire.

That brings up a whole new topic about nature vs. nurture. One thing, at least, is clear. Any genetic choice should be left to individual parents, not the government. Whenever a government tries to decide which genetic qualities are preferable, there is tyranny, as with the eugenics experiments in Nazi Germany. Freedom of choice, even though our own free will may not be absolute, is the only viable alternative..