Who's Afraid of Designer Babies?

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2004, 53 Minutes

The decision of a couple to use embryo screening technology to save their son's life raises complex and emotional issues about our potential to "design" our descendants.

Australia is at the forefront of new genetic technology that will let us “design” our descendants. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or PGD allows scientists to screen embryos conceived through IVF. But what is the potential of this technology and who should decide how to use it? For families suffering incurable or debilitating genetic diseases, PGD seems to be the longed-for miracle. But where do you draw the line? Some believe the next step is selecting genes that code for intelligence, athletic ability or hair colour, for example.

This compelling documentary follows a couple trying to have a child with the right genetic make-up to save the life of their son, who is dying from an hereditary illness. For them, it's not a question of creating a "designer baby" but using science to help them have a much-wanted second child, who will not only provide the cure they so desperately seek, but will also be free of the same fatal condition. The film also talks to parents who have used PGD for gender selection and to leading scientists and ethicists from around the world.

Going beyond sensationalist media headlines, this fascinating and thought-provoking program presents a wide range of perspectives on a complex and emotionally charged issue, in a brave new world where science fiction is now science fact.

A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with December Films. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission. Produced and developed with the assistance of Film Victoria. Produced in association with SBS Independent.
© 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Film Victoria.

Free Teachers’ Notes - Download here

(199901700)

Director/Writer: Sean Cousins

Narrator: Rachel Ward

Year: 2004

Total Running Time: 53 Minutes

Classification: Exempt from classification

Region: 0

Curriculum Links: science, technology, studies of society, medicine, health, personal development, English, legal studies/law and future studies as well as coursework involving the study of ethics including philosophy, sociology, education, politics and economics.

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SKU 199901700
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