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Designer Babies - Organ Donation

A. Read the definition of designer babies provided by Wikipedia:
The colloquial term "designer baby" refers to a baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected by
genetic engineering, combined with in vitro fertilization to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes
or characteristics. The term is derived by comparison with "designer clothing". It implies the ultimate
commodification1 of children and is therefore usually used pejoratively to signal opposition to such use of
reprogenetics2. Designer babies is a term used by journalists to describe it; it is not a term used by scientists.
B. Work in groups. Decide whether you agree or disagree with the statements below about designer babies.
Write P if you think the information is a Pro or C if you think it is a Con. Justify your
( ) Babies Genetic screening can reduce the baby's chances of being born with
several serious diseases like Down Syndrome, Famial hypercholesterolemia, rare
blood disorders such as Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, etc.
( ) This technique is not limited to screening for genetic and hereditary disorders, but
is also used for cosmetic reasons.
( ) Many lives may be saved if this technique is properly used.
C. Decide in your groups if you agree with the statements below. Justify your choices: Write A if you agree
and D if you disagree.
( ) Adolf Hitler was on a quest to create a race of Aryan blond, blue eyed and tall people. Creating designer
babies is believed to be on the same lines. The question arises, which skin color and physical features are to
be chosen.
( ) The advent of designer babies will affect biodiversity. Moreover, having ones traits decided by parents
eliminates the opinion of the child in his or her life.
( ) Parents passionate about sports would have the athletic ability
engineered into the child, however, the child may not want the same. This
reduces the child's freedom to choose.
( ) If accepted, it will have a negative impact on the society. It will result in
increase of unreasonable fear or hatred towards foreigners or anyone who
appears different.
( ) People with genetic defects will be socially rejected. They will be called
'gene poor' and will be separated from the society too.
( ) Today, people who have genetic defects are already treated differently
and cast out from society in several parts across the world. Designer
babies concept will lead to discrimination on the basis of certain qualities or traits.
( ) Kids of rich families will receive genetic enhancement, leading to genetic aristocracy. This gives them an
unfair advantage over the other children. People unable to afford genetic engineering will be looked down
upon. Thereby, creating a greater rift in society.
( ) Most parts of the world are still male dominated, and sex or gender
determination of the baby can lead to gender discrimination across the globe.
( ) Life will definitely be better for people will live longer and with fewer diseases.
( ) I would have a child genetically engineered if I had another child in need of a
compatible organ to transplant for its survival.
( ) I would make my designer baby donate its organ to save another child of mine
even if it did not want to donate it.

2. My Sister's Keeper
D. Watch the first movie segment from the movie My Sister's Keeper and answer the questions that follow.
1. What's the main character's opinion about how most babies are generated?

1 Commodification (or commoditization) is the transformation of goods, ideas, or other entities

that may not normally be regarded as goods into a commodity, i.e., any marketable item
produced to satisfy wants or needs.
2 Reprogenetics: the combined use of reproductive and genetic technologies to select, and
someday even genetically modify, embryos before implantationnot for health reasons, but for
the sake of "improvement."

2. What's her opinion about the way she was generated?

3. Why was she engineered?
4. What has changed since her sister got sick?
5. How would you describe the family's relationship?
E. Watch the second movie segment from the movie My Sisters Keeper and discuss the
questions that follow in pairs.
1. What are the girl's arguments for not donating her kidney?
2. What is their familys reaction?
3. Is she right to say what she did? Explain it.
4. What about her parents? Are they right to demand the donation?
5. What's your opinion about the situation?

F. Now watch the final segment from the same movie and discuss the questions:
1. What does the main character want to do?
2. Why does she want to do that?
3. What's the lawyer's opinion about it?
4. What has she gone through since she was born?
5. What are the possible consequences of her decision?
6. What's your opinion about her decision? Is she right or wrong? Explain your
7. Does she have the right to do it? Why (not)?
8. What would you do you if that girl were your own daughter, refusing to donate her kidney to save your other

3. Grammar Passive Voice

A. Correct the following transformations:
1. Annas parents conceived her so that shed save her sister.

Anna is conceived so that shed save her sister.

2. Doctors produced a beautiful, compatible baby.

A beautiful, compatible baby was produced from doctors.

3. They brought Anna to the world to be a genetic match for her older sister, Kate.

Anna Fitzgerald was being brought to the world to be a genetic match for her older
sister, Kate, by them.
4. The narrator introduces family members one by one.

Family members are introduce one by one by the narrator.

5. Each tells the audience about how Kate's illness has affected them personally.

The audience is tell about how Kate's illness has affected them personally.
6. Their mother, Sara, will force eleven-year-old Anna to donate one of her kidneys.

Eleven-year-old Anna will is forced by her mother, Sara, to donate one of her kidneys.
B. Write the following sentences in the passive voice.
1. Anna told her parents that she did not want any of that.
Annas parents
2. In a flashback, Kate also meets a fellow cancer patient.
A fellow
3. Kate makes a request to go to the beach one last time.
A request
4. Brian obtains permission from her doctor and removes her from the hospital.
5. The father will take Kate and her siblings to the beach.
6. Kate had gently persuaded Anna to refuse to donate her kidney.
7. Campbell is bringing the court decision.
The court decision
8. Annas decision overwhelms her parents.
The parents
9. They havent explored Jessies relationship with his father.

10. Campbell, the lawyer, took the case not for the notoriety, but because he had epilepsy and understood
Annas predicament of not having control over her own body.
The case