Fertility clinic cancels plans to offer 'designer babies'


LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A Los Angeles fertility clinic that claimed in February it would help couples create "designer babies" is backing off its plans in response to criticism.  

Fertility Institutes announced plans to allow couples receiving fertility treatments to—in addition to screening embryos for genetic disease—select both gender and physical traits in their babies, including eye and hair color. Embryos that don't meet the genetic or physical criteria are often discarded in favor of the preferred embryos.  

British fertility expert Gillian Lockwood warned against "turning babies into commodities you buy off the shelf." At first, Dr. Jeff Steinberg, who runs the clinic, deflected the ethical arguments, saying, "It's time for everyone to pull their heads out of the sand."

Steinberg, dubbed his service "cosmetic medicine," announced that, due to negative feedback, the clinic has suspended its "eye and hair color program."

EP wire report was used in this article