America’s Build-A-Baby Workshop: Designer Babies

Bioethics   |   Susan Michelle Tyrrell   |   Oct 11, 2012   |   3:22PM   |   Washington, DC

When I was younger I loved the Build-A-Bear workshops in the mall. I wanted to design my own ballerina bear. Years later, some precious debate students did it for me as a thank you for being their coach. I still have my ballerina bear and still think the idea is a fun one, if you can afford a designer bear of course.

This idea, however, has morphed out of the malls and into the medical clinics of America where now people come to build designer babies. To hear political campaigns across the states and nation tell it, America has a financial problem and needs to return to her status of being the land of the free and land of opportunity status before she crumbles. While I wouldn’t argue these are problems, I would argue that our reputation is in deep danger when couples from around the world now that they can fly into our nation to design their own baby.

While many people deny sex-selection is an issue in our modern American culture, clearly, there is a lucrative business that indicates the contrary is true and, in fact, people fly from all over the world to America’s Build-A-Baby workshop.

According to this article last week:

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, director of The Fertility Institutes in Los Angeles and New York City, has for several years offered a fertility procedure allowing affluent couples to choose their baby’s gender. Sex selection, outlawed in many countries, is legal in the United States: Steinberg’s clinics have treated “thousands” of couples from India, China, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and 142 other nations.

Steinberg recently told the London Evening Standard that he’s helped around 400 British couples conceive their choice of a boy or girl. They sometimes pay $45,000 or more for one of Steinberg’s package deals that includes treatment, plane tickets, and a hotel. The doctor opened his New York clinic in 2008 to cater to British and European patients, who are perhaps less than an eight-hour flight away. Sex selection is illegal within the United Kingdom, but Steinberg boasted that “leading British politicians” fly to his New York office for that very purpose.

Steinberg admitted his clinics have recently seen a “huge growth” of Chinese clients. Almost all of them—98 percent—ask for a boy. So do most Indian couples. Both countries ban sex selection, but it’s practiced illegally because of cultural preferences for boys.

Legal in the United States? That’s right. If you can afford it, you can build it. After all, it’s a pretty easy process because of our medical “advances.” According to one story:

Advances in IVF technology mean it is now possible to determine the sex of an embryo in the laboratory, before it is placed in the womb, with 100 per cent accuracy.

You see, that’s the problem with the ability to play God: It never is just an innocent act to “help a childless couple have a baby.” When we permit the process, we open the door to more than we bargained for, a Pandora’s Box of distress and destruction which sends a message that value is in the eye of the creator, not the Creator.



As World Magazine reports, “Steinberg typically performs PGD by fertilizing eight or nine eggs and implanting just one embryo, discarding or freezing the others.”

Discarding is a fancy word for killing. Let’s get down to basic science here. We have 9 eggs, and implant one, which becomes a “desirable” baby boy; then we throw away the other 8. Could they have become babies had they been implanted? Duh. If you destroy the baby in any stage before it becomes a baby then you kill a baby. You can call t sex selection, abortion, a medical process or discarding eggs, but in the end a life created is taken away.

And America is infamous for being the place that couples can fly in and build their baby from scratch–assuming they can afford it. What a tragic testimony for a nation where upwards of 4000 babies are killed each day from abortion.

LifeNews Note:  Susan Michelle Tyrrell is the editor of Bound4Life’s blog.