argument top image

Should genetically modifying babies be legal? Show more Show less
Back to question

The term “genetic modification” most commonly refers to a technique known as mitochondrial replacement therapy. The treatment involves constructing an embryo from the DNA of three people, using one party’s mitochondrial DNA in place of another, which is at risk for passing on a mitochondrial illness. In recent years, the genetic modification of babies has become a widely debated issue. The first genetically altered babies were born in 2018, prompting the scientific community to debate the ethics of the project. Is this procedure the scientific community's latest achievement, or a step too far?

Yes, genetically modifying babies should be legal Show more Show less

The genetic modification of babies could lead to medical breakthroughs that improve the lives of many people. The treatment carries no more risk than any other form of reproductive assistance and is a potential means of serving the common good.
(1 of 2) Next position >

The practice could enhance future generations

Refusing to test a procedure that could improve future generations' quality of life is short-sighted.
< (2 of 3) Next argument >

The Argument

The genetic modification of babies could lead to the improvement of future generations. With this procedure, scientists could prevent children from inheriting debilitating illnesses, creating a society with less suffering. The procedure could make future generations smarter, stronger, and less vulnerable. In turn, these genetically modified individuals could contribute to the common good in extraordinary ways. If genetic modification remains taboo, we will decrease the possibility of future generations benefiting from an improved quality of life.[1]

Counter arguments

We cannot claim that genetic modification will serve the common good with certainty. Since the procedure is untested, it carries an equal risk of giving future generations serious problems.[2]


[P1] The genetic modification of babies could improve the health of future generations.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The argument assumes that genetic modification's future achievements will outweigh the potential safety risks of testing the procedure.


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 29 Apr 2020 at 10:07 UTC

Explore related arguments