The Ethical Problem with DNA-Manipulated Designer Babies

Guest Post

Baby playing with a DNA strand

Ethical warning bells went off in April when Chinese researchers reported they had experimented with 85 defective human embryos to try to alter genes in every cell without otherwise damaging the DNA.

They failed. In most cases the genes were not altered at all, and in the few cases where the scientists managed to alter the genes, there were problems.
Even though the researchers had no plans to produce a live baby, their work once again raised the issue of how soon science will be able to engineer designer babies and, just as importantly, whether doing so is ethical.


“Science is moving at such a rapid pace that society can’t put off much longer deciding what it thinks about the concept,” says Peter Schattner, a scientist and author of the book Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human (www.peterschattner.com).

“Abortion has long been a challenging and controversial issue, but with our increased ability to use fetal DNA to glimpse into the potential child’s future, the moral issues have multiplied.”

As science progresses, parents may be able to choose a child based not just on the sex, but on such criteria as a child’s likelihood of excelling in sports or mathematics.

That’s when the “should they” questions will become ever more pressing, Schattner says, and several scenarios could be raised that society must face. Among them:

  •  DNA testing is less expensive than it once was. As a result, more genetic conditions are being screened in newborn babies. In 1995, five conditions generally were included in those screens. A decade later, many states were testing for 24 or more. Before long, a whole-genome DNA screening will be less expensive than individual genetic tests. But what should be done with that data? Should parents know every potential health condition a child could face throughout his or her entire life? “You also need to think about the wishes of the children,” Schattner says. “As they grow into adulthood, are they going to want to know everything about their genetic makeup?”
  •  Prenatal DNA data already lets prospective parents know whether a child will be born with Down syndrome or Tay-Sachs disease. Some parents choose abortions in those cases. But as science’s understanding of DNA improves, those parents may soon be able to learn more than just whether a future child will face a devastating disease or condition. Medical professionals will be able to tell them whether their yet-to-be-born child will be affected by less severe disabilities, such as a hearing impairment or moderate intellectual disability. How will parents and society use that information?
  • An ultrasound examination usually can reveal the sex of a child by week 12 or 13 of the pregnancy. DNA-based sex determination soon will be able to reveal that information as early as week seven. But that’s not the end of the story for any parents who might want to select their child’s sex. By combining prenatal genetic testing with in vitro fertilization, it soon will be possible to select fetuses without requiring an abortion. “The temptation to play God and choose a child on the basis of a variety of nonmedical considerations may become too strong for some parents,” Schattner says. “The potential consequences are disturbing.”

Society as a whole needs to understand the implications, he says, because science won’t be able to provide all the answers.

designer babies

“Science can only address questions of what is,” Schattner says. “In contrast, questions about what should or shouldn’t be are moral or ethical questions, and science can never answer them.

“But by understanding more fully the scientific questions about how the world is, we are in a better position to make societal and personal decisions that are in line with the moral and ethical beliefs we hold.”

About the Author

Peter Schattner (www.peterschattner.com) is a scientist, educator and writer with 30 years of research experience in molecular biology, genetics, biomedical instrumentation and physics. He is a recipient of the Technical Innovation Award from the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Schattner received his doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg and has held research and teaching positions at the University of California, California State University and Stanford Research Institute. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and reviews, as well as the textbook “Genomes, Browsers and Databases.” His latest book, “Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human” is his first book for non-scientists

10 More Summertime Hacks to Know

 

 

 


 

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We got such great feedback and response from the initial Summertime Hacks we shared earlier, here are 10 more from our Supernanny Pals to help you navigate the summer heat, bugs and other minor nuances. These tips also provide some great shortcuts to know. Enjoy!
mosquito

1. Keep a dryer sheet in your pocket to keep bugs away. You can spend tons of money buying bug spray, and you’ll most likely end up feeling sticky, smelling like bug spray, and getting bitten by bugs anyway. An easy solution is to carry a dryer sheet with you, which is something most people have at home already anyway. By carrying it in your pocket you can ward off bugs; something about the smell keeps the bugs away from you.

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2. Sprinkle baking soda in sweaty shoes. Running around in your shoes without socks is a regular occurrence during the summer time because everyone just wants to slip shoes on and go. Unfortunately, this also causes extra unwanted odor in your shoes. To fix this problem sprinkle the inside of the shoes with baking soda to absorb the odors. If you’d rather not have the powdery look in your shoes, you can create a sachet by using a rubber band wrapped around a few tablespoons of baking soda in a handkerchief. Just put a sachet in each shoe and the odors will disappear.

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3. Trap fruit flies with apple cider vinegar. Did you bring home fruit flies from the farmers market? Fill a glass jar half full of cider vinegar and screw the lid back on. Punch several holes in the lid and leave the jar where you have seen the fruit flies. They will be gone in no time.

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4.Cool a sunburn with white vinegar. Unfortunately, with the warm summer months comes the occasional sunburn. To take the sting out of a sunburn soak clean soft cloths in white vinegar, wring them out and lay them on the sunburned skin.

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5. Coat feet with petroleum jelly and cover with socks at bedtime. This trick will keep your feet soft and sandal ready all summer. A little petroleum jelly on your elbows and knees will make sure they stay soft and smooth for all of those revealing summer outfits.

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6. Mix a can of cola with ketchup for a quick and easy barbecue sauce. Figure out about how much sauce you want and add the cola to the ketchup to thin it out and add flavor and sweetness. Brush on chicken or ribs during the last stages of cooking on the grill to avoid burning.

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7. Use conditioner to shave your legs in a pinch. Did you forget to pack your shaving cream for your vacation? That’s okay; you can use the sample bottle of conditioner that most hotels give you. This will leave your legs smooth and silky soft.

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8. Apply coconut oil to bee stings and bug bites. Coconut oilhas anti-inflammatory properties and will help heal the sting or bite as well as soothe the pain.hullers9. Straws make great strawberry hullers. Take a normal straw and push it up through the base of the strawberry and come up under the hull. Keep pushing and the hull will usually come right out. Practice makes perfect with this, but it really works well when you get the hang of it and you won’t have all those strawberry seeds under your finger nails.

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10. Use cute cupcake papers to cover your drinks this summer. When the weather turns nice eating and drinking outside becomes standard, and almost mandatory. The problem with eating and drinking outside is keeping the bugs away from your food and drinks. Get yourself some cupcake papers and use them to cover your drinks. If you’re having a party the cupcake papers can even match the theme. To make a drink cover you just need to punch a hole in the cupcake paper and stick a straw through. Just make sure there are no bugs inside the straw before you drink.

These are the Top 10 Companies to Work for to get Generous Paternity Leave

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Unlike progressive nations like Sweden, the United States doesn’t have federally mandated paternity leave for employers. Only 12 percent of US companies offer it.

Given that Bellyitch is an online digital blog and eMagazine and a proud member of Team Internet, we were quite elated to see that 5 of the top 10 companies with generous paternal leave as identified by TakePart are tech companies:


Change.org tops the list at #1 with its 18 weeks paternity leave offering.

Coming in behind the online petitioning site at #2 is Reddit which offers 17 weeks for birth and adoptive dads.

Facebook is number 3 on the list and it extends its leave policy to contractors as well as employers. Sweet!

Number 5 on the list is Twitter which also has a support group for new and future dads. Imagine!

Finally, rounding up tech companies on the top 5 is Google, which at #7 on the list, offers 12 weeks if Dad is the primary caregiver and then throws in an additional 5 weeks for adoptive and surrogate parents.

Awesome!dad with baby

The other ten companies on the list are: Bank of America (#3), eco-friendly retailer Patagonia (#4),  international US-based law firm Arnold and Porter (#8), Swiss health firm Roche International‘s US offices (#9); and business management consultants Ernst & Young. (#10)

Read more details here: http://ow.ly/OHhiT

Get Fourth of July Crafts & Baking Ideas From these 5 Websites

fourthFourth of July is around the corner. If you are thinking about getting family and friends together to celebrate or looking for some ideas for the children, here are five sites that have some neat suggestions, recipes, crafts and decorating tips!

Enjoy!

 


 

 

 

Study: Obese moms produce babies that will struggle with weight entire life 

  
Do obese mothers automatically produce obese children with metabolic disease?

According to a study being presented today at the American Diabetes Association’s 75th Scientific Sessions, the in utero environment can indeed cultivate a child’s cells to accumulate extra fat.

Researchers say that environment also can produce metabolism differences that can lead to insulin resistance.


Other studies have shown that obesity during pregnancy is a risk factor for increased infant adiposity at birth. Severely overweight women also pass on an increased risk that their children will become obese and have metabolic disease later in life.

Continue reading 

How to Keep your baby cool in the Summer w/out using AC

Staying cool during the summer isn’t just a desire for babies, it’s a necessity. Babies who become overheated can suffer terrible consequences, ranging from heat exhaustion to heatstroke. While babies can’t exactly tell you when they are hot, there are signs that can indicate your baby is overheating. Some signs that indicate overheating include your baby being extremely thirsty, tired, and having skin that is cool and moist.

Overheating is one of the leading causes of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) according to the National Sleep Foundation.  When babies are too warm they sleep deeper, which can lead to trouble. For this reason, it’s important not to overdress your baby for sleep. When she is sleeping in her crib and there is no air conditioning in her room, putting her in a onesie or a pair of light pajamas is best.  You’ll also want to have a fan running in her room to circulate the air, but make sure that the fan isn’t blowing directly on her. To cool the air that the fan is blowing you can put a pan of ice water in front of it.


A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby like you are comfortably dressed, plus one layer. If you are comfortable wearing shorts and a T-shirt then put her in that as well, plus a onesie underneath.  If you’re burning up and have a pair of shorts on, leaving your baby just in her diaper may be appropriate.  Try to avoid synthetic fabrics when dressing her as they tend to trap the heat and moisture in instead of allowing her skin to breathe.
If you are going to be going outside with your baby then dress her in lightweight cotton long pants, long sleeves, and a floppy hat.  Keep her in the shade and preferably somewhere she can feel a breeze.  It’s better to keep her skin covered than to use sunscreen on a very young infant.  If you must use sunscreen, apply it conservatively and only to the areas of skin that are exposed. You’ll also want to avoid being outside between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m because the sun’s rays are the most damaging during these times.

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Start Up Founder hid Pregnancy to Not Scare away Investors

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Our culture seems obsessed with pregnancy given all the fascination over celebrity “bump watch”, celebrity post-baby bodies and all the nonstop studies and articles about pregnancy each week. Still, it’s still taboo to be pregnant in the workplace or while launching a company.

Yahoo Parenting posted a piece recently about women who run their own businesses who hid their pregnancies while looking for funding or opportunities.

It featured Talia Goldstein who is the CEO for a matchmaking startup called Three Day Rule that recently entered a lucrative partnership with Match.com. But before realizing tremendous success, Goldstein explained in an essay in Fortune  that while looking for investors, she was “ashamed for getting pregnant” because her industry “looks down on it.”

Goldstein, who had appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank heard comment after comment to give her that impression. One person told her “a pregnant CEO/founder is going to fail her company.” and another remarked “it’s a huge red flag when the founder of a company is pregnant.” Someone else retorted: “Honestly, I’d never invest in a company with a pregnant CEO.”

When Goldstein, who once worked as a producer at E! Entertainment, got pregnant she made a conscious decision to not alienate investors by hiding her pregnancy from friends, colleagues and even her business partner.

“I must have looked ridiculous,” she wrote about going as far as wearing a bulky trench coat in 80 degree weather. “But I knew that I had a better chance of raising money looking ridiculous than I would looking pregnant.”

Now that the mom to son Max is pregnant again, she plans to make it easier for her mainly-female employees so they can feel comfortable to start a family when they’re ready without fear of retribution for doing so.

Yahoo cited a Cornell University study which concluded that mothers are viewed as less competent and committed than fathers, even though the evidence supports that moms outperform their childless counterparts.

Despite the fact that the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EOEC) has updated its guidelines in 2014 to state that employers cannot fire, refuse to hire, or demote a woman sole on the fact she is pregnant, many employers don’t follow the suggestions and women too do not know their rights.

“I hid my pregnancy at work until my third trimester — thankfully, my bump wasn’t that big,” one anonymous New York City-based copywriter told Yahoo Parenting. “I was a contractor, and I worried that pregnancy would cloud all my other attributes, despite working at a female-dominated company that made products for women.”adding, “Once, in the bathroom, my co-worker heard me throwing up from morning sickness, and I pretended I’d had a late night. I figured it was better to be hung-over at work than pregnant.”

A Los Angeles-based psychologist  chimed in about why she waited until her third trimester to announce her pregnancy: “I had just been hired into a tenured university position, and I was worried people would question my competency to take on new responsibilities.”

It’s an unfortunate reality for many women and it doesn’t seem like it will get better.

10 Summertime Hacks

10 summer hacks

Avoid and deal with some minor Summer-related annoyances and inconveniences with these 10 Summertime Hacks provided by our friends at SummerNanny.

marshmallow1. Stop drippy ice cream cones with a marshmallow or chocolate. Ice cream is a delicious summertime favorite, but often ends up being a very messy treat when eating outdoors in the heat. To prevent your sugar cone from leaking, drop a couple of mini marshmallows into the bottom before you add your ice cream scoops, or dribble some melted chocolate down into the bottom of all of your cones. In addition to stopping leaks, there will be a yummy treat at the bottom, especially once it hardens, and both solutions will stop the drips from ending up on your kids.


candles

2. Light up your next outside dinner party by using cupcake papers. Candlelight is a beautiful addition down the center of an outdoor table and works well because candles are generally low and won’t block the view of the person sitting across the table. The problematic part of using candles is that you have to invest in a bunch of candle holders and deal with the cleanup of all of the melted wax. Until now. Instead of using candle holders, use foil cupcake papers as your holders and tea lights for your candles. The foil will reflect the candlelight as well as capture the melted wax and make cleanup a breeze.

flower pots

3. Protect your food from flying pests by using a pretty flower pot. Buy a few big clay pots. You can buy them already painted or paint them yourself. To make the pots easy to pick up you’ll need to add on a handle. You can do so by taking some pretty cording or rope and cutting off about 10 inches, then folding the cording in half and poking the folded end through the hole in the bottom of the pot. Turn the pot over and tie the ends on the inside into a knot to prevent the cord from pulling out. Now you are ready to cover your food for your next outside gathering.

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4. Gnats and flies love to walk all over food. Place a fan at one end of the table and create a breeze across the table. Gnats and flies don’t have particularly strong wings and won’t be able to fly through the breeze, thereby forcing them to stay away from the food and your guests.

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5. Keep your food cold outside by using a baby pool. Baby pools are inexpensive and if you buy the blow up kind they are easy to store as well. If you want to keep salads cool just set the baby pool up on top of the food table and fill it with a few inches of ice. As the food arrives your guests can place dishes right on ice. Another use for the baby pool is to keep your drinks cold and easily accessible. You can set this pool anywhere, but placing it in the shade will help your ice last a little longer.

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6. Jazz up your sun tea. Use different flavors of tea in your jar to bring a new mix to your tea. Once your tea has brewed in the sun add some mint leaves and fruit juice and refrigerate it until it’s time to serve it.

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7. Keep unwanted ants away during your next picnic.  Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and shake.  Spray the solution on picnic tables, under the table, and anywhere that people might be standing.

ice cream
8. Stop wasting ice cream. Once open, ice cream is exposed to the air in the freezer and starts to form ice crystals, and if you leave it in there for too long the ice cream won’t be any good. To avoid ice crystals just press a piece of parchment paper or wax paper on the surface of the ice cream and it will stay fresh all the way till the last scoop.

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9. Set a trap to keep the bees away from your guests. Find a spot that is at the edge of the area you are entertaining in and place a few bowls of sweet soda for the bees to drink. The bees will be too interested in drinking the soda to bother you or your guests.

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10. Use corn starch to prevent chafing. Chafing happens to kids and adults alike in the summer due to their being more sweat forming between your skin and clothes. Corn starch is absorbent and it’s very soft to the touch. It works well to smooth it on legs or under bras to reduce the painful heat rash that occurs.

8 Effective Post-Natal Exercises to help Drop Baby Weight Fast

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If you’ve recently had a baby and have gotten the okay from your doctor to finally start exercising again, you still may find it tough to escape to a gym or maybe you don’t have a gym membership.

Maybe, you have exercise DVDs but no motivation to do them or want to mix up your routine. There are ways to get fit with your baby nearby or napping and while watching your fave TV shows .


These are 8 of my favorite old-school weight-bearing routines.

1. Push-ups – I find Push-ups are the BEST for getting toned arms. You don’t even need barbells. It’s great because it works out your deltoids, biceps and triceps all at once. Doing at least 3 sets of 10 reps each time you work out will get you sculpted Michelle Obama arms in no time.  To do them, start in plank position and then engage your core as you lower and raise your body.

2. Burpees – Everyone I know absolutely HATE this total body exercise. You basically have to engage every muscle in your body to perform it and that is why they are so effective. Start in a standing position, then drop down to a deep squat with your hands outside your feet. From there, jump your legs back and get into a plank then return to the deep squat. Then pop back up into a standing postion and with your arms in the air, jump straight up. They can also be a cardio exercise if you do at least 10 in a row without stopping too long in between.

3. Squats – This move is relatively simple to do and is perfect for lifting and getting a tone butt. Tgey also works your quads and hamstrings. I find they are great lower body exercise to do in front of the TV too. Stand with your feet shoulder length apart. Lower down into a sitting postion before standing  back up. Repeat for 10-15 reps for three sets.

4. Jumping Jacks – Speaking of cardio, the best way to get it in without any treadmill, stairclimber, spin bike or other exercise machine is by doing between 30-100 of these in one session continuously or straight for 2 minutes.

5. Lunges – Another power lower body workout are lunges. These too are popular for getting tight and sculpted legs. Start with your legs shoulder with apart with your hands on your hips. Then, step forward out about 90 degrees with one leg but be careful not to let your knees go beyond your feet. Alternate legs. Do 20 reps and 3 sets per session. You can do reverse lunges next by stepping back if you like

6. Running in place – To also get a good cardio work out, simply run in place for 1-2 minutes straight. Keep your knees high. You’ll work up a sweat and get your heart pumping

7. Planks – Another dreaded move are the planks, but these are the quickest way to work all the muscles in your abdominal area in one move. Start like you are going to do a push up, then lowerself down to your elbows and stay in that position for 30 seconds to a minute and work yourself up to a minute. You’ll definitely feel these the next day.

8. Mountain climbers – Finally, another good cardio and toning exercise are mountain climbers. Start in a plank position, then alternate each foot up toward your hand, right under your chest. The quicker you alternate, the more cardio the work out you’ll get. While in the plank postion, you are also working your upper body as well.

If you squeeze these moves in for about 20 to 30 minutes a day, or every other day, you’ll see the weight start to drop especially if you are breastfeeding or watching your caloric intake at the same time. On alternate days, go for a walk or short jog outdoors or do an exercise DVD. You need to mix up your workout to drop pounds and not plateau.

Good luck!

Help your fave charity earn a $2K grant via Huggies #UltraHug initiative

Sponsored Post

chelsea social huggies

Hurry Quick!

There is only one day left for you to set up your favorite charity to possibly receive a $2,000 grant from Huggies by participating in its #UltraHug selfie program!


All you have to do to support this movement to help a community projects that is near and dear to your heart is:

  1. Thru tomorrow June 25th at midnight, take a selfie with your little one and upload it  onto Instagram or Twitter with the #UltraHug hashtag and in the commentary section of the photo include the name of the charitable organization you would like to nominate.
  2. On July 6, Huggies will feature 20 of the nominated community projects on THIS SITE and give parents a chance to cast their vote for which project should receive a $2,000 grant from Huggies towards their community projects.
  3. The top 10 projects getting the most votes will win the grants!
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Bellyitch’s Social Media manager Chelsea Social and her son Michael

Bellyitch Blogs‘ own Chelsea Social has uploaded her pics with our Blog Spokesbaby, Michael, onto Twitter.

I’d like to nominate Good Counsel Homes and Hope for Babies and Mothers. My husband and I have donated each month to this New Jersey charity which for the past 30 years has provided loving homes, comfort, support and shelter to mothers and their children in need. Over 6,000 women, including several teen mothers who were kicked out of their parents’ homes, have benefited from the nurturing care, encouragement and lifestyle training that Good Counsel provides!

We hope it wins!

Your Turn!

Quickly snap up your babes and enter your own fave charity TODAY!!!

photos: Chelsea Social, Becoming Julie Griffin, Lezo Musings