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Article #2 - Pandora's Baby - Pandora's baby Henig Robin...

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Pandora's baby Henig, Robin MarantzScientific American 06-01-2003 Pandora's baby Byline: Henig, Robin Marantz Volume: 288 Number: 6 ISSN: 00368733 Publication Date: 06-01-2003 Page: 63 Type: Periodical Language: English In vitro fertilization was once considered by some to be a threat to our very humanity. Cloning inspires similar fears On July 25, a once unique person will turn 25. This nursery school aide in the west of England seems like an average young woman, a quiet, shy blonde who enjoys an occasional round of darts at the neighborhood pub. But Louise Brown's birth was greeted by newspaper headlines calling her the "baby of the century." Brown was the world's first test tube baby. Today people may remember Brown's name, or that she was British, or that her doctors, Steptoe and Edwards, sounded vaguely like a vaudeville act. But the past quarter of a century has dimmed the memory of one of the most important aspects of her arrival: many people were horrified by it. Even some scientists feared that Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards might have brewed pestilence in a petri dish. Would the child be normal, or would the laboratory manipulations leave dreadful genetic derangements? Would she be psychologically scarred by the knowledge of how bizarrely she had been created? And was she a harbinger of a race of unnatural beings who might eventually be fashioned specifically as a means to nefarious ends? Now that in vitro fertilization (NF) has led to the birth of an estimated one million babies worldwide, these fears and speculations may seem quaint and even absurd. But the same concerns once raised about IVF are being voiced, sometimes almost verbatim, about human cloning. Will cloning go the way of IVF, morphing from the monstrous to the mundane? And if human cloning, as well as other genetic interventions on the embryo, does someday become as commonplace as test tube baby-making, is that to be feared-or embraced? The lessons that have been learned from the IVF experience can illuminate the next decisions to be made. Then and Now AS IVF MOVED FROM the hypothetical to the actual, some considered it to be nothing more than scientists showing off: "The development of test tube babies," one critic remarked, "can be compared to the perfecting of wing transplants so that pigs might fly." But others thought of IVF as a perilous insult to nature. The British magazine Nova ran a cover story in the spring of 1972 suggesting that test tube babies were "the biggest threat since the atom bomb" and demanding that the public rein in the unpredictable scientists. "If today we do not accept the responsibility for directing the http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/elibweb/elib/do/document? set=search&groupid=1&requestid=lib_standard&resultid=25&urn=urn:bigchalk:US;BCLib;document;74742975&s tyle=printable&edition=&start=1&language=[Type text]
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biologist," the Nova editors wrote, "tomorrow we may pay a bitter price-the loss of free choice and, with it, our humanity. We don't have much time left."
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