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 procedure would allow people with transferable illnesses to have biological children

Through prohibiting genetic modification of babies, policymakers prevent individuals from experiencing parenthood
(1 of 3) Next argument >

The Argument

For individuals suffering from mitochondrial diseases, having children often comes with the fear of passing on their illness. The genetic modification of babies could allow these people to have biological children without fear. Through mitochondrial replacement therapy, a woman's ill mitochondria can be replaced with a healthy one, allowing these women to have biological children with peace of mind.[1] Although mitochondrial illnesses get the most attention, the procedure could prevent couples from passing on other serious genetic diseases. The genetic modification of babies could allow more couples to experience the joy of parenting and should be allowed for this reason.

Counter arguments

Allowing mitochondrial genetic modification would help only a small number of women conceive biological children. There are other, less risky ways of helping couples with health issues to have children without fear.


[P1] The genetic modification of babies should be allowed because it could help more couples have children.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] There are safer ways for couples to have children.




Not sure yet? Read more ↑


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 28 Apr 2020 at 09:24 UTC

Explore related arguments