Fertility Guru’s IVF Warning: Rich Could Pay to Have Brighter Babies, Says Lord Winston

Mario Ledwith and Fiona Macrae, Daily Mail (London), May 5, 2014

Breakthroughs in IVF could ‘threaten our humanity’ by prompting parents to demand designer babies, Robert Winston has warned.

The fertility pioneer said that he feared a time when the rich could alter the appearance and ability of children by tinkering with their genes.

And he claimed a ‘toxic’ climate had been created by the desperation of childless couples and the pace of scientific developments in the booming IVF industry.

Warning of a resurgence in eugenics, the broadcaster and Labour peer said there was a ‘real risk that we could see that kind of attitude in our humanity occurring again’.

In the future, he claimed, the rich may be able to pay to have babies with enhanced intelligence, musical ability and strength.

Lord Winston’s comments will be hugely controversial among fertility experts, not least because he is a pioneer in IVF treatment and has helped to bring more than 10,000 babies into the world.

Medical ethicists last night praised him for speaking out, saying it was refreshing to hear a scientist who ‘saw the bigger picture’ about the potential dangers. But his comments angered fertility groups. They said IVF was a ‘lifeline’ and it was wrong to suggest childless couples were looking to have a designer baby as the vast majority simply wanted a child.

Lord Winston, who is instantly recognisable from his TV programmes such as Child of Our Time and The Human Body, told a fertility conference that new genetic screening technologies meant scientists working with IVF needed to be particularly aware of the danger of eugenics becoming more prevalent.

Taking aim at fertility colleagues and patients, he said: ‘One of the problems with our work is that we have been carried away with massive enthusiasms in reproduction. That mixture of enthusiasm and patient desperation is actually a very toxic and heady mixture. It is worthwhile standing back a little from the technologies that we employ.

‘One of the issues of the market is that rich people may well be able to afford, in due course, the kind of enhancement to their genetics that other poor people may not be able to afford.’

The 73-year-old added that a growing market for fertility treatments and pressure to enhance human qualities could mean we ‘end up with a society where some people may actually have something that might threaten our humanity’.

Lord Winston, emeritus professor of fertility studies at Imperial College London, was delivering a speech at the University of Kent titled Reflections on IVF technology–will we be human in 100 years?. He told fellow fertility experts: ‘The age of eugenics is one that we don’t think of as being important now.’

But he added: ‘In a world where there is conflict, where there is shortage of resources, shortage of water, shortage of food, climate change, I don’t think it is impossible that this is necessarily going to die out.’

The hugely controversial theory of eugenics suggests that humans can be improved by preventing people with supposedly undesirable qualities or genetic defects from reproducing.

Similarly, those seen to have ‘desirable qualities’ should be encouraged to have babies.

It has been regarded as a toxic doctrine since it was used by the Nazis to justify a compulsory sterilisation programme, whereby ‘defectives’ were not allowed to reproduce.

Josephine Quintavalle, of campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said that IVF gives people the chance to think about having a perfect baby. She added: ‘In many aspects, the opportunities to think about best and better are increasing by the moment.’

Philippa Taylor, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: ‘If Lord Winston is saying this, I hope that people take notice. He is someone who is an expert in the area but also someone who sees the bigger picture.’

But Susan Seenan, chief executive of support group Infertility Network UK, said: ‘Most patients just want to have a baby. They are not looking to have a designer baby.’ She added that to the average patient, IVF is a lifeline–and eugenics is the last thing on their mind.

Dr Allan Pacey, the chairman of the British Fertility Society, said he doubts we will ever have the skill to alter complex traits such as musical ability. He added: ‘The law prohibits it, even if it was technically possible.

‘Most infertile couples are desperate for a baby, rather than a specific type of baby, and I don’t see that changing.’

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  • IstvanIN

    While I have a problem with IVF for sex selection, it tends to throw the natural balance of society off, what is the harm in attempting to have a superior baby? What about tests that allow a couple to choose not to have a Down’s syndrome baby, or a baby with any gross defects? Should that be banned? And what about White women who give birth to black latino babies? Why should devolotuon be allowed but not evolution?

    • Whitetrashgang

      Yes this could be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and nothing can really stop it , just like you cant stop abortion. Except now this is something positive and the next obvious step in human development.Which people have been doing for Millions of years just at a lower level.

      • Rhialto

        The ability of an organism to selectively modify its offspring’s genetic structure could well be the most significant event in the history of evolution. Will it be use? If so, how? By which groups?

        • JDInSanD

          Some groups will have to pay for it themselves. Other groups will have it paid for through your taxes like an Obamaphone upgrade.

          Somehow I think we’ll all end up with light skin, straight hair and perfect little noses.

          See Dr Suess’s The Sneetches for a preview.

    • Kenner

      What you are saying is perfect common sense. I’m sick of my taxes supporting our government’s dysgenic ‘race to the bottom’.

    • Alexandra1973

      I wonder how many disabilities are brought on by vaccines, diet, and the like. If a child is born “defective,” I wonder if it’s something the mother did during her pregnancy.

      I was born with a club foot and I have a son who’s developmentally delayed…but I’m thinking it’s the vaccines that did it to him, he was okay until his 18-month shots…then regression. It could be a number of things. I drank diet pop during my pregnancy…I didn’t know how dangerous aspartame is, for all I know that could have contributed.

      • IstvanIN

        We are talking genetic abnormalities for the most part, not abnormalities that occur because of something the mother did or did not do during pregnancy, or the position of the baby in the womb, or any number of things that happen during pregnancy that are just fate. As for autism spectrum disorder, it is very common here in NJ and I know several people with both autistic/aspergers and normal kids all in the same family so who knows. Vaccines, chemicals in our food, (Coca-Cola has anounced they will soon be removing flame retardants from their products), we really don’t have all the answers yet.

  • David Ashton

    The Daily Mail seems to have an editorial bias against what it considers “eugenics” and has also been running a number of trivial anti-Nazi stories for some time, for some reason. I am writing to the paper asking what is wrong IN PRINCIPLE with helping to make future generations of humans more intelligent and healthier?

    • refocus

      See… you are a racist.

      • David Ashton

        Was Jesus a racist?

        • Einsatzgrenadier

          We are all racist.

          “Anti-racists” are among the most racist people of all. The majority of their racial hatred is directed toward whites.

        • ThomasER916

          If he was then we wouldn’t have a problem with Christians.

          • David Ashton

            We know that Ms Quintavalle is a “papist” and Lord Winston is a “gentleman of the Mosaic persuasion”. But I was hoping to find out what Mr Refocus thought about Jesus himself.

    • Romulus

      I would be in favor of this program for indigenous European tribal race realists. Egalitarians might use this for their utopian dream, however.

      Egalitarianism does not exist in nature, only in humans dreams. Whomever had access to this kind of genetic power, could , in theory, also enslave the rest of us. Yet since we already have a tiny powerful elite that rules over us en masse, if realists use this power to their advantage it could prove beneficial.

      • David Ashton

        As Lenin said in a different context, “Who — whom?”

        • Romulus

          Is it true, as another commenter posted, that you are gravely ill?
          I hope the statement is untrue! Your insights would be sorely missed!

          • David Ashton

            I have cancer and get very tired, plus some other problems, but hope and expect to battle on for good few years yet, and to get more substantial stuff into print. Thank you very much for your concern and appreciation.

          • LovelyNordicHeidi

            Learn as much as you can from David! That would be the greatest honour to him, as he is a learned man. See you around, Romulus.

          • Romulus

            I am deeply saddened with this news, if it is accurate. He has been a pleasure to read on this forum.
            Miss Heidi, it is unfortunate that you couldn’t attend. You would have enjoyed it.
            I have delved deep into this movements past over the course of my vacation last week and have discovered many telling things.

            For example, Mr. Donovan (according to many internet profiles) is a homosexual. I was startled that he could even begin to postulate on “The Way of Men” , as being a real man and a homosexual are mutually exclusive. Secondly, from doing another search on one M.Berman( who also attended) could prove to be the elusive J. E.

            Since I’ve only been a commenter on amren for a little over a year, much of the previous history was unknown to me. Especially the controversy surrounding Mr Hart and Mr Duke.

            If you’ve read my comment history, you’ll find that I frequently posted that all manner of leftist whites and “light skinned” people would be making inroads to this overall movement as Europeans become minorities in the nations they’ve founded. If you’ll take note of the “change in American thinker’s site and now with this one, you’ll see what I’m alluding to.

            Since the article on Mr.Taylor on American thinker (Every man is His Own Commisar)

          • Romulus

            (continued from previous) There are now commercial advertisements on both sites.This means we now have the endorsement of those that control the money supply as long as their included (sort of a rainbow right coalition). That is just what I found in a previous speech of J.T.’s after the ’06 conference.

            When I made my own analysis of the same conclusion (an alliance with_______) last Nov, I had not previously known the aforementioned speech nor had I even discovered amren.

            I suspect that the truce (?) Between us and them was inevitable, given their near domination in so many areas.

            I hope I live to a ripe old age to see how it all pans out.

  • Homo_Occidentalis

    The 73-year-old added that a growing market for fertility treatments and
    pressure to enhance human qualities could mean we ‘end up with a
    society where some people may actually have something that might
    threaten our humanity’.

    Intelligence was what once demarcated man from beast. I guess in the topsy-turvy commie Islamic republic of Britlandistan up = down, peace = war, and the dysgenic proliferation of low IQ genes is to be desired. What a nightmare.

  • I don’t think it’s right to tell people they can’t have children, but why are people so scared of getting better? I like the idea that my child might be smarter, stronger, and more talented than me. If I wanted less, what kind of father would I be?

    • cranky_1970

      Good point.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      I don’t think there is such a thing as an absolute right to have children. If someone is genetically defective, belongs to a less productive ethno-racial group or if excessive reproduction will exacerbate the problem of overcrowding, environmental degradation and poverty, the state has a moral responsibility to restrict the breeding habits of certain individuals and even entire populations.

      • Pro_Whitey

        You have a point. We start out with interests, not rights. Only when various and conflicting interests are weighed, and we reach a consensus about what interest trumps another in a given situation, can we then establish that one has a right. Rights have been too sacralized. Rights are more like rights of way. It is the underlying moral values and interests that give a right its importance. In the context of reproduction, where society is collectively forced to care for the least, there has to be some concession by the least not to add to the burdens they are putting on others, or at least that’s my take.

  • cranky_1970

    If the rich can select for smarter, more attractive kids, why can’t the poor? Going forward, what is wrong with eugenics? High intelligence and good looks correlate with better social outcomes. It is essential for upward mobility. I favor an egalitarian society where everyone is healthy and intelligent. If the ugly, stupid, criminally disposed, and diseased can be bred out of the population, why not?

    • IstvanIN

      They can opt for smarter, more attractive kids by choosing their mates carefully. Of course when you go “to da club” and get knocked up by random thugs all bets are off.

      • Anglokraut

        That’s why abortion-on-demand is the right of every Negress, and we must never restrict that right.
        Seriously, why would they ever even think of buying Plan B when they know they can get a subsidized termination?

    • ThomasER916

      When “the poor” select for higher IQ, as if by some sort of magic, they won’t be poor anymore. I suspect that Africans that are high IQ will look at their 80 IQ parents and think, “They’re the reason the black race is poor, criminal, and untrustworthy.”

  • disqus_Xz3UA6obwj

    Can you imagine a world when all newborns can have a high IQ? That egalitarian nightmare may soon become a reality.

    • David Ashton

      I would add only that high IQ is necessary but not sufficient. Some “egalitarians” are cleverer than their enemies and victims.

  • Steven Barr

    I’m actually not so sure about eugenics because it seems to me that so called “intelligent” people are actually the first ones to fall for egalitarian fantasies.

    • David Ashton

      I’ve made an almost similar addendum almost simultaneously (below).

    • Martel

      “The more intelligent and highly educated people are
      today, the more they believe what they are supposed to believe. The less
      intelligent absorb less of what they are told and retain more of their
      original way of thinking, but they are inarticulate and increasingly
      nonfunctional, so they pose no threat to the regime so long as they are
      disarmed”

      Jared Taylor quoting James Kalb in the Amren article “Notes for revolutionaries”. This slightly conflicts with data on High Education vs opposition to Segregation (looking at you JE), which states no “positive” correlation between the two. But only on first sight!

      A public support for “diversity” has no relation with an actual preference for diversity.

      • LHathaway

        very nice use of that quote from Jared Taylor’s fine review.

        • Martel

          Thank you, I read the review several times, powerful words.

    • sbuffalonative

      Yes, intelligent people run into the problem that they can reason themselves into believing anything.

      Up is down, left is right, right is wrong, bad is good.

      As they say there’s a fine line between genius and madness.

      • disqus_Xz3UA6obwj

        If people guided by logic and reason are the unintelligent ones, then I’m glad to be unintelligent.

        “Up is down, left is right, right is wrong, bad is good.”

        That describes most religions and I hardly find theists to be a group noted for their intellect.

    • WR_the_realist

      Well, this is one intelligent person who does not fall for the egalitarian fantasies. In practice it will be hard to create intelligence through eugenics because intelligence is controlled by many genes and each of those genes does many other things than just influence IQ. But bit by bit people will figure out how to make their children smarter and for some reason that just scares the willies out of the left.

      It is much easier to prevent certain genetic diseases by weeding out a single deleterious allele, so that will happen first in any eugenics program. To a degree this sort of thing is already done. But for some reason the left is afraid even of this. They actually want people to be born with horrible, incurable disabilities.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany (2006) by professor Richard Weikart details the embrace of Darwin and of natural selection by late 19th and early 20th century German intellectuals — particularly German physicians and scientists. [Richard Weikart is fluent in German and spent years in Germany scouring archives to produce this very well-written, scholarly work, which is 233 pages.]

    Darwin himself said in 1868:

    “The support I received in Germany is my chief ground for hoping that our views will ultimately prevail.” (p10)

    Therein lies the dilemma: A fervent embrace of “evolutionary thinking” in Germany, including by Hitler himself, led to world calamity.
    On the other hand, a complete rejection of “evolutionary thinking” as regards human populations — indeed the reversion to it — in late 20th and early 21st century Europe and the United States is also leading to calamity.

    We are caught between a eugenic rock and dysgenic hard place.

    I highly recommend Weikart’s Darwin to Hitler.

    • saxonsun

      Eugenics was also a big thing in the US.

  • A new technology or process comes along, it is expensive at first, and rich people are the early adopters and the only people that can afford it.

    Like that’s never happened before.

    But it’s what’s needed to create the economies of scale to make it affordable for most people.

    Inequality is a big driver of social progress.

    • Tim_in_Indiana

      A new technology or process comes along, it is expensive at first, and rich people are the early adopters and the only people that can afford it.

      That’s exactly right. For example, computers were once so expensive only governments and large corporations could afford them; now they’re built into children’s toys.

      Likewise, cellphones were once so expensive that only corporate executives had them. Now I understand they’re very popular in the third world.

      At one time, sequencing the human genome cost a million dollars, and a team won a prize some time back for figuring out how to do it for $10,000. By the end of this decade, it will probably cost around $1,000 and be affordable by most.

      One wonders if this Robert Winston is worried about only the rich being able to afford to alter their genes or if he’s afraid that everyone will be able to do it.

  • Diana Moon Glampers

    Gattaca!

  • Romulus

    Wonderful.
    I’m in agreement with lovely Heidi on this particular topic. If it benefits the indigenous barbarians, I give it my full support.

    Obviously, specimens like JOHN MERRICK shouldn’t have been allowed out of the womb, much less the hospital. Nature itself has no feelings and without human intervention,would inevitably weed out the riff raff.
    Quite obviously, our species does not conform to nature’s laws.

    • saxonsun

      Mr. Merrick was a human being, not a “specimen.” He was also the perfect embodiment of the idea that true ugliness is inside.

      • Romulus

        Please endeavor to keep your ridiculous emotional platitudes to yourself. I imagine it must extremely be difficult given the nature of your own affliction.

  • Urbane Neanderthal

    The left will vilify this when the technology becomes available because it will show that the best genes the African can muster are still far below the best (probably below the random) genes that Europeans can produce.

    In other words it will be a struggle to get a 100 point IQ designer African baby.

    The prospects for the NFL and NBA would be interesting if black dominated sports themselves were.

  • WR_the_realist

    Apparently maintaining our humanity requires that our children be weak, sickly, ugly, and stupid. As for the whine that this technology is only available to “the rich” — well, every new technology is at first for the rich, before it gets cheap enough for everybody. That was true for refrigerators, automobiles, and cell phones. (In the 80s cell phones had bulky boxes that you installed in cars and only rich people had them.) So if we followed the wisdom of the left we would never have any new technology.

    • IstvanIN

      As a teenager in the mid-70s I knew only one person who had a car phone. A friend’s doctor father had one in his Oldsmobile, rotary dial and all. Huge thing bolted under the dash and another part in the trunk.

  • Kenner

    A more immediate threat to ‘our humanity’ are the prowling packs of 80 IQ, dysgenic feral killers roaming our streets.

  • richard garyson

    The egalitarians are perpetually confusing lot. First they say we are equal, there is no such thing as intelligence, etc. However, it they really believed this, they would not be concerned with eugenics, because since all embryos are equal, mixing and matching and splicing and dicing them would have beneficial effect.

  • Peter Connor

    No, eugenics was introduced by Margaret Sanger, etc, and later picked up by Hitler. Mother Nature actually invented it, however.

    • IstvanIN

      Good grief I get so tired of hearing about Hitler. How did he become the arbiter of everything in the modern world. He has been dead for almost 70 years.

      • WR_the_realist

        Yup. From 1941 on Hitler was a vegetarian, so to prove you’re not evil you must eat dead animals. Such is the logic of our media pundits, professors, and politicians.

        • Sloppo

          I understand that Hitler liked dogs, children, and a clean environment. Therefore we must hate dogs and children and we must seek to destroy nature or we’re just like Hitler.

  • LHathaway

    It’s happening. And filtering out sperm and eggs that may appear to be deficient or defective seems to be a good idea. What’s more, men will no longer have to fight each other for the privilege to be with females. The US prison population could drop from 2 million to 100,000 or less.

    But no one questions any unforeseen long term effects this may have on the human race or indeed it’s very survival, only that it may be ‘racist’. How typical. Racism is more important than life itself, these days.

  • JDInSanD

    This just in: People have been selecting breeding partners based on looks, intelligence, ability, race, religion, class, wealth and health for thousands of years.

  • sbuffalonative

    I actually hold out hope that genetic manipulation may be the whites mans’ last hope.

    IF it comes to the point where everyones genes are intermix, genetic engineering may be what resurrects the white race.

  • Lt. Greyman, NVA

    Alpha, Beta and Gamma people. O Brave New World’ only for real.

    The rich will say, sure I dated her even though she is a Beta, because she is so pneumatic!

    White Homeland!

  • evilsandmich

    In the future, he claimed, the rich may be able to pay to have babies with enhanced intelligence, musical ability and strength.
    —-
    Seems kind of overwrought. Making a baby (generally) isn’t too dissimilar from creating a player in a roleplaying game where the more you turn up one gauge, the lower the other gauge’s get.

  • When Sayaka was pregnant with Ariadne, we just ate good food: No tuna, shark or other large apex-predator fish. Environmental contaminants are typically increased by a factor of ten with each step up the food chain one goes: “happy, fun” things like mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and phthalates. She also took calcium citrate pills.

    This cost us almost nothing. I did stop drinking while Sayaka was pregnant, just so she wouldn’t want any at all. We don’t smoke.

    Ariadne is not quite seven, but is a bright girl. She likes stargazing with my Royal Air Force MK-4 five-power binoculars and my college astronomy books.

    One doesn’t need money for this, but rather good genes, a healthy diet, as well as love and encouragement. You can’t buy that with money.

  • benvad

    He’s a paranoid old jewish guy. He wants to make sure we’re drowned in the melting pot of 3rd world garbage. He’d prefer not to have uppity whites who don’t follow commands.