In addition, donors must be law-abiding, healthy Chinese citizens who plan to live in Shanghai for at least one year after donating and who have no family history of disease. Finally, they must also be 165 cm tall or taller.
According to Shine, The sperm bank will be the first in China to use more specific genetic screening measures in order to evaluate sperm quality and identify potentially troublesome genes. The selective technique involves mapping out all the genes found on the chromosomes of the donor. By knowing the genotype behind the physical characteristics, one can select the good alleles and select against the bad alleles. This then ensures that the offspring won’t have the undesirable trait and future generations won’t have it either.
This type of technology has incredible potential for preventing all kinds of misfortunes such as miscarriage, congenital defects, and hereditary diseases. By making sure the sperm carries only good genes, it then increases the chances of that sperm creating offspring that can live a long and healthy life.
Genomic technology capable of reducing the passing on of genetic diseases such as Huntington’s or Cystic Fibrosis is an incredible human achievement, however, it has ignited ethical debates on how extensively this technology should be used. Similar to how people fear an Orwellian society becoming a reality, a society that uses eugenics to create ideal babies is one to fear as well—especially if you are overweight or balding.
[Images via People’s Daily]