Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The current manufacture and retail of custom assembled infants

No surprises here, we’ve seen this one coming for a long time …

The business logic of made-to-order babies. - By William Saletan - Slate Magazine

... Friday morning, an investigator from the Food and Drug Administration spent four hours questioning Jennalee Ryan of San Antonio, Texas, about her new line of business. That business, outlined a week ago by Washington Post reporter Rob Stein, is making and selling human embryos [jf: manufactured from eggs and sperm] from handpicked donors. The FDA says this doesn't appear to violate any rules within its purview. Embryo manufacture? Go right ahead. ...

Once it became apparent over 10 years ago that embryo donors were being paid well in excess of their “expenses” this was as sure as dusk and dawn. Ms. Ryan purchases eugenically optimized euro-only sperm and eggs, pays for the creation of embryos, and sells the embryos. If she doesn’t also provide surrogate mother services I’d be a bit surprised.

I see no reason why this won’t become substantially less costly than international adoption. It will also be less risky, as measured in terms of infant acquisition. The main limits to growth are probably the low costs of competitors entering the market, though the most genetically gifted embryos may remain expensive. (Ms. Ryan may also hold some important process patents.)

That’s capitalism. The market shall provide.

Incidentally, though it is perhaps not obvious from my writings, I do have a few selected domains of common cause with the catholic church …

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