paulseditors-desk-picThe Washington Post reports on the search for good genes that is helping the assisted reproduction business. Some stats about the state of the industry:

“The multibillion-dollar fertility industry is booming, and experimenting with business models that are changing the American family in new and unpredictable ways. Would-be parents seeking donor eggs and sperm can pick and choose from long checklists of physical and intellectual characteristics. Clinics now offer volume discounts, package deals and 100 percent guarantees for babymaking that are raising complicated ethical and legal questions.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 percent of American women 15 to 55 — 7.3 million — have used some sort of fertility service; the use of assisted reproductive technologies has doubled in the past decade. In 2015, these procedures resulted in nearly 73,000 babies — 1.6 percent of all U.S. births. The rate is even higher in some countries, including Japan (5 percent) and Denmark (10 percent).

“Most couples use their own eggs and sperm, turning to doctors to facilitate pregnancy through techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). But the use of donor gametes is on the rise. The donor-egg industry, in particular, has taken off in the past decade with the development of a safe and reliable egg-freezing process. The number of attempted pregnancies with donor eggs has soared from 1,800 in 1992 to almost 21,200 in 2015.”

That is an incredible number of artificially conceived children each year. We’ve come a long way (test-tube) baby since Louise Brown came into being in 1978.

Skeptics of in vitro fertilization have long warned that eventually scientists would screen for positive traits. Why leave genetics to chance? The Post reports that it isn’t just scientists but entrepreneurs getting into the racket:

“Prospective parents can filter and sort potential donors by race and ethnic background, hair and eye color, and education level. They also can get much more personal information: audio of the donor’s voice, photos of the donor as a child and as an adult, and written responses to questions that read like college-application essays.

“Want your sperm donor to have a B.A. in political science? Want your egg donor to love animals? Want the genes of a Division I athlete? All of these are possible. Prospective parents overwhelmed by all the choices can leave it to the heavens and pick a donor by astrological “sign …

“Fertility companies freely admit that specimens from attractive donors go fast, but it’s intelligence that drives the pricing: Many companies charge more for donors with a graduate degree.

“Talent sells, too. One cryobank, Family Creations, which has offices in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin and other large cities, notes that a 23-year-old egg donor ‘excels in calligraphy, singing, modeling, metal art sculpting, painting, drawing, shading and clay sculpting.’ A 29-year-old donor ‘excels in softball, tennis, writing and dancing.’

“The Seattle Sperm Bank categorizes its donors into three popular categories: ‘top athletes,’ ‘physicians, dentists and medical residents,’ and ‘musicians.’

“And the Fairfax Cryobank in Northern Virginia, one of the nation’s largest, typically stocks sperm from about 500 carefully vetted donors whose profiles read like overeager suitors on a dating site: Donor No. 4499 ‘enjoys swimming, fencing and reading and writing poetry.’ Donor No. 4963 ‘is an easygoing man with a quick wit.’ Donor No. 4345 has ‘well-developed pectorals and arm muscles’.”

It’s funny that we don’t hear from the left-wing crowd that frets about inequality about the creation of designer babies. The left should strongly oppose the upper middle class (and better) choosing offspring that are more talented to go along with their other class advantages.