Do we really need sex to make babies? Maybe not

Preimplantation genetic screening
Image credit: Laura Day

There are lots of great reasons we humans have sex. We mostly do it to pair bond, realize our primal urges, and feel good. Once in a while, we also do it to make babies. As the coming genetic revolution plays out, we’ll still have sex for most of the same reasons we do today. But we’ll increasingly not do it to procreate.

Today, the number of single gene mutation diseases and relatively simple genetic traits that can be predicted meaningfully from genetic data alone is already significant.

In the not-distant future, this list will grow to include complex diseases and disease propensities, percentage probabilities of living a long and healthy life, and increasingly the genetic component of complex human attributes like height, IQ, and personality style.

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[P]rospective parents will increasingly have a stark choice when determining how to conceive their children. If they go the traditional route of sex, they will experience both the benign wisdom and unfathomable cruelty of nature. If they use IVF and increasingly informed embryo selection, they will eliminate most single gene mutation diseases and likely increase their children’s chances of living a longer and healthier life.

Over time, only zealots will choose to roll the dice of their future children’s health and well-being rather than invest, like parents always have, in protecting their children from harm and helping optimize their life potential.

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Read full, original post: Is Sex for Reproduction About to Become Extinct? 

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