Not until recently have researchers been able to identify genetic markers and attempt to map out not only the genome but the epigentic genome. What does this mean for reproductive medicine, intended parents and children of IVF? Potentially, a lot.
If you could do IVF and make it so that your child (or further, her children) does not inherit the Alzheimers gene, would you do it? Like a scene out of Gattaca, this may actually be possible some day, and sooner than one might think. But is this new potential science a way of improving health for our future children and planet? Or is it just GMO-ing human beings? What are the ethical and moral questions researchers, doctors and future potential parents face? Will this be legal? And how close are we to having this? The technology is in the works, but it could take more than a decade to come to fruition. Moreover, researchers don’t know what this would do for us a a species in the future, much like GMOs and our current situation with farming and the food industry. Life is one big experiment.
But today, in some ways, people are already looking into how to improve their future baby’s health. Genetic testing, genetics companies like 23andMe, and using specific sperm or egg donors all contribute to what a future child may inherit or express genetically. But what can we do today, right now? The environment and lifestyle (the nurture of Nature VS Nurture) is the key. A surrogate mother and a mother using donor egg who is carrying her child can still influence how the genetics of the embryo are expressed, and how that baby grows. Healthy wombs, healthy lifestyles, taking care of oneself – that is the best thing a mother can do today to ensure the utmost health of her child.