In theory, voluntary eugenics is a completely harmless practice that could help save many lives and prevent unnecessary difficulties in the lives of many people who might otherwise struggle because of genetic conditions that are out of their control. There are many life-threatening or -hindering genetic conditions that could be easily prevented by using this technology, creating more healthy and happy humans. However, there are also many questions that still remain when it comes to this technology. First of all, where do we draw the line between a genetic disorder that needs to be erased for the sake of the health of the person, and just another harmless genetic trait that doesn’t affect a person enough for such drastic action to be taken? For example, there are many genetic conditions that many people would argue are difficult to live with and would be better to get rid of, but for many of those conditions, it is hard to tell if those people are truly at a disadvantage, or if modern society is simply not structured in a way that is accommodating to people with different genes than the average person. Another question that must be taken into consideration is whether this technology should be used purely for medical purposes or if parents should be allowed to alter their children’s genes in whatever way they choose to produce what they would consider the “perfect” child. In some ways, this is the parents’ decision, and it wouldn’t necessarily drastically decrease diversity in humans because everyone’s idea of what they want their child to be is different. However, we wouldn’t want everyone to be perfect, because then if everyone is perfect except for a select few whose parents couldn’t afford the procedure or chose not to participate, those people could be ridiculed for their lack of perfection. This is something that we as a society cannot afford, and should be taken seriously into consideration.
Like I said before, the medical uses of this technology are vast and incredibly useful. However, in the wrong hands, this could lead to a resurgence of a eugenics-type movement in a new light. It probably would not end up being race-based for the most part, but society would weed out the genes they considered to be unfit until they no longer existed. There may be no reason for these genes to be considered unfit other than the fact that they are just not viewed positively in the public eye for whatever reason, but nonetheless they will be systematically removed from humanity’s gene pool with almost no notice. People may not even realize that it is happening, or that they are participating in it, because they only have good intentions when deciding what genes they want their children to have, but it could turn into an evil machine where people have too much control over what genes are allowed into the next generation’s genes.
As of right now, this technology is very very very expensive. Not only that, but there is not a lot of reason that the price will drastically decrease anytime soon, considering that this technology is not exactly “necessary” most of the time, so price decreases will really only be needed in drastic situations. Otherwise, it is completely up to the parents whether or not to pay the money, which means for the foreseeable future it will only be accessible to wealthy people. This could create an even bigger divide in society, because wealthier people may begin to see themselves as superior and back it up with science because they will, in fact, have access to the most advantageous genes for today’s society.
I do believe that reproductive freedom is a very important right, and that should be protected to the fullest extent possible. However, in order to prevent all of the aforementioned consequences of voluntary eugenics, I also believe that regulations need to be placed on this technology to limit its uses, especially considering that in most cases it is not actually a necessary procedure and just a desire of the parents of a child. I am certain that this technology can be very beneficial to human society, but it also has possible consequences that must be kept in mind when creating regulations around it and lines must be drawn so that it is not taken too far and the mistakes of the Eugenics movement are not repeated.