'AI Babies' Are a Thing, And They're Raising Major Ethical Questions


Artificial Intelligence has been around since the 1950s, but in recent times, the industry has seen an unprecedented acceleration — and the medical field is no exception.

While some developments are promising, many raise grave ethical concerns. One particularly worrisome aspect of A.I. progress is the idea of “A.I. babies.”

Fox News reported that  approximately one in every five U.S. adult married women facing infertility after a year of trying to conceive turn to in-vitro fertilization for a chance at parenthood.

However, the IVF process is not without challenges. It is expensive, success is not guaranteed, and most women require multiple attempts before achieving a successful pregnancy.

Enter A.I., with its potential to enhance the selection of healthy embryos and predict successful pregnancies.

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Companies like Embryonics and AIVF from Israel are harnessing A.I. algorithms to revolutionize in-vitro fertilization treatments.

According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the technology is already in use across Europe, Asia and South America and could be in the U.S. “very soon.”

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It’s not the first time A.I. has been used to boost pregnancy chances. Just last month, researchers in California unveiled a “sperm health test” algorithm, which is capable of scanning sperm for their shape and motility and enables the selection of the most optimal swimmers for fertilizing an egg.

According to Fox News, AIVF’s EMA software employs an A.I. model to assist clinicians in evaluating embryos and utilizing its advanced algorithm to identify the most promising candidates for successful pregnancies.

Daniella Gilboa, an embryologist and co-founder and CEO of AIVF, told Fox News Digital that the A.I. has been trained to detect embryonic features that are not visible to the human eye, such as genetic abnormalities, implantation potential, and gender-related factors.

Each embryo is assigned a numeric score, empowering the clinician to make the final decision based on this data.

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The application of A.I. to IVF, where it weighs in on selecting embryos based on their perceived “best potential” and “quality,” raises profound ethical questions.

The act of determining which embryo should be chosen for further development is entering the realm of playing God — a domain that has already had lines blurred by IVF and other such procedures.

Dr. Gilboa’s assertion that A.I. can detect embryonic features beyond human capability, such as genetic abnormalities, implantation potential, and even gender, adds another layer of complexity to an already controversial procedure.

The application of A.I. in the selection of embryos for IVF brings forth legitimate concerns regarding the possibility of eugenics and widening disparities between the wealthy and the less privileged.

As A.I. technology becomes more sophisticated, it may open doors to the deliberate manipulation and selection of specific genetic traits in embryos, giving rise to the concept of “designer babies,” according to the Daily Mail.

Eugenics, historically associated with discriminatory practices and human rights violations, revolves around the idea of selectively breeding individuals to improve the genetic quality of the population.

While proponents of A.I. in IVF argue that it enhances the chances of successful pregnancies and reduces the risk of genetic disorders, this technology could undoubtedly pave the way for eugenic practices.

The ability to use A.I. to choose embryos based on desired characteristics, such as physical attributes, intelligence, or disease resistance, could lead to a society where individuals with certain genetic traits are valued more than others. This could exacerbate existing social inequalities, further dividing the wealthy, who can afford access to such advanced reproductive technologies, and the economically disadvantaged, who cannot.

For those worried about inequity in society, the potential disparity between “designer babies” created through AI-assisted embryo selection and naturally conceived babies could become the ultimate divider of humanity.

Additionally, the focus on creating “perfect” offspring through A.I. selection may overshadow the value of natural diversity and God-given uniqueness. Celebrating genetic variation and individuality may take a backseat to an obsession with predetermined ideals of excellence.

IVF has long been a contentious issue, primarily due to the decisions surrounding the fate of non-selected embryos and the implications of gender selection.

With A.I. stepping into the earliest stages of life, the ethical dilemmas intensify, and the blurring of the lines between healthcare and defiance to God continues down a slippery slope that no one can see the bottom of.

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Rachel Emmanuel has served as the director of content on a Republican congressional campaign and writes content for a popular conservative book franchise.
Rachel M. Emmanuel has served as the Director of Content on a Republican Congressional campaign and writes for a popular Conservative book franchise.