Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Smart. Brown Eyes. Tall, dark and handsome. Did you ever have a list like this for the guy you were hoping to land, marry, make a life with together?
What if the list were: High IQ. Green eyes. Fair skin. Is that in any way worse?
Now, what if you want these characteristics in a child? Is it wrong to look for them in a mate if you know you would like to see them in your kid?
And, if for some reason you find your dream mate, decide to have kids and can't, resort to in vitro fertilization: Would it be wrong to CHOOSE these characteristics for your baby-to-be?
According to this article, more and more Devis and their spouses in India are hitting up Indian sperm banks and egg-donor facilities in search of children who have (1) light skin; (2) green or blue eyes; (3) light hair; and (4) high IQs. To meet the growing demand for these traits, fertility clinics in India are importing sperm and eggs from all races, all over the world. India is turning into a genetic laboratory.
Obviously IVF and doomsday prophesies about "engineering" children are not new issues, but something about this article--focusing on the increasing popularity of the practice in India, and the large-scale search for "desirable" sperm and eggs in the U.S. to import--hit closer to home than it has before. We've talked about the ingrained notion many of our moms have that "fair" equals "lovely" before, so that didn't surprise me so much (though it never stops being bizarre to me.) But green eyes? Light hair? Why? And what does it mean that these couples in India want these supposedly "superior" children who will look nothing like them?
On the flip side, if you are in the surreal situation in which you have the ability to order traits of your kids, as if items on a menu, why wouldn't you choose "high IQ" over "low IQ," "tall" over "short"?
How do you think a growing number of "less-Indian-looking" babies in India will affect our little Indian babies here at home?