Needing better babies — again

There are two big ‘progress’ areas in the advanced countries as they move out of mass production of consumer goods and leave that to the Chinese. The first is of better education — or, should one say, more relevant education — for one’s children. This will mean that they will all the better look after you in your old age as pension funds — state and private — continue to falter.

The second progress will be in bespoke health care — that is, in the best possible health care according to your own genetic make-up. This will not necessarily be to prolong life spans but of maintaining good health until the last few days or weeks.

Both are going to mean even more research than is already going on in order to have babies with fewer genetic faults to start with. To this end, pressure is already mounting in England for scientists to be able to extend the lives of lab-fertilized eggs for longer than 14 days, the present legal limit — legislation which is now 20 years out of date. Just as this country leads the world in genetic research, it’s to be hoped that our legislation remains at the forefront also.

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