23andMe, a genomics and biotech firm in Mountain View, California, has been awarded a patent for a baby customizing system it developed a while back.
23andMe, a genomics and biotech firm in Moutain View, California, has been awarded a patent for a baby customizing system it developed a while back.
They said that they have no intention of using it, however.
The highly controversial approach has the potential to allow parents undergoing in vitro fertilization to pick a number of preferred outcomes, including frivolous ones like eye color.
23andMe currently uses the methodology to calculate the chances of babies inheriting a number of family traits from hair color to allergies.
Fertility clinics already often check eggs and donor sperm for potential complications such as grave illnesses.
This system, however, has the capability to go much further, allowing recipients to select a donor that could help create a child of their own design.
Doing that sort of thing is frowned upon throughout much of the world and already illegal in both the UK and Canada.
In a statement, a 23andMe spokesperson said that custom-designing offspring for people is not something the company has ever done.
It was clarified that the patent was filed in 2008 not only to allow parents to scan for any diseases that may be passed on, but also to obtain useful information about their own ancestors and health.