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The Doctors speak with fertility specialist Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg who claims parents using IVF to conceive can now choose the eye color of their unborn child with an 82 – 94% certainty. The practice of IVF allows the selection from multiple embryos, so it can give parents a choice of an embryo with the traits they want.
Dr. Steinberg explains that by default 90% of the world has brown eyes which is considered “genetically perfect.” A small glitch in genetics results in green eyes and a larger glitch will cause blue eyes. He says they can examine the glitches in DNA and find those embryos. These screenings are not done for eye color alone. They are often for gender selection and to screen for genetic diseases.
Some people are concerned about the ethical aspects of this screening practice. Psychiatrist Dr. Ish Major says he’s in agreement with using this to weed out genetic diseases but “On the flip side, we’re not picking puppies from the pound. There’s something about your kids showing up as is and loving them unconditionally.”
The Doctors asked their viewers if given the option to choose the eye color of their unborn child, would they? 56% of viewers say “Yes.”
When asked how he feels about being labeled by some as “playing god”, Dr. Steinberg argues that that is not the idea; the idea is intervening with nature and the course of nature. Dr. Steinberg believes the ability to screen for hair color, autism, height and cancer will all be possible in the near future. He asks “Should we eliminate any of those? Then you put handcuffs on a scientist and I’m a very strong proponent of the fact that you never put handcuffs on a scientist.”
OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry wonders if one day it will go too far and have a negative impact on society. She asks Dr. Steinberg if he feels anything would be going overboard? He says he has a problem with engineering personality and intelligence but no problem with anything else.
Dr. Ish chimes in that he feels making changes is the “ultimate helicopter parenting.” Dr. Steinberg shares that they are very close to figuring out schizophrenia and says if we change that gene, you are changing the personality. He challenges Dr. Ish, does he think that is a bad thing? “No, it’s a good thing… because he or she is psychotic” says Dr. Ish. He adds that he is all for correcting a dysfunctional pattern but does have an issue with selecting something that’s just part of expression.