A new company called Genomics Prediction now claims to be able to test IVF babies for low IQ. If the test shows your baby will likely have a low IQ, you can then let that baby die. We have seen how often tests for Down Syndrome have resulted in abortion, such as in Iceland. I can only presume tets for low IQ will get similar results to down syndrome. Genomics Prediction doesn’t hide these motives. They use “screen” instead of “test” as babies who aren’t good enough will be “screened out.” (That’s a euphemism for killing the babies who likely have a low IQ.)
Low IQ Tests
The firm Genomic Prediction says it has developed genetic screening tests that can assess complex traits, such as the risk of some diseases and low intelligence, in IVF embryos. The tests haven’t been used yet, but the firm began talks last month with several IVF clinics to provide them to customers.
For intelligence, Genomic Prediction says that it will only offer the option of screening out embryos deemed likely to have “mental disability”. However, the same approach could in future be used to identify embryos with genes that make them more likely to have a high IQ. “I think people are going to demand that. If we don’t do it, some other company will,” says the firm’s co-founder Stephen Hsu. […]
The firm is mainly promoting its tests as a way of screening out embryos at high risk of certain medical conditions. But the company’s polygenic test for “mental disability” is more controversial. It isn’t accurate enough to predict IQ for each embryo, but it can indicate which ones are genetic outliers, giving prospective parents the option of avoiding embryos with a high chance of an IQ 25 points below average, says Hsu. […]
Information from the same test could be used to go one step further and select whichever embryo is most likely to have a high IQ. “What that corresponds to is way-above-average intellectual potential,” says Hsu.
Fortunately, it looks like the company will only screen out embryos with below-average intelligence for now. However, several scientists in the article say soon they will screen for only high intelligence.
Responding to These Tests
Fortunately, some people are speaking out. New Scientist quotes one of them:
“If we consider inclusion and diversity to be a measure of societal progress, then IQ screening proposals are unethical,” says Lynn Murray of Don’t Screen Us Out, a group that campaigns against prenatal testing for Down’s syndrome. “There must be wide consultation.”
Don’t Screen Us Out is a campaign in the UK to protect babies with Down’s Syndrome. They are on the front lines of preventing eugenics.
We need to promote the goodness we see in each person so people won’t abort children just because they are imperfect. We also need to look at restricting such genetic tests on the unborn if they have such lethal results for so many. Science will probably keep advancing but news tests should not cause more babies to die.
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