Designer Babies

Parents can now pick a kid's sex and screen for genetic illness. Will they someday select for brains and beauty too?

Until just a few years ago, making a baby boy or a baby girl was pretty much a hit-or-miss affair. Not anymore. Parents who have access to the latest genetic testing techniques can now predetermine their baby's sex with great accuracy--as Monique and Scott Collins learned to their delight two years ago, when their long-wished-for daughter Jessica was born after genetic prescreening at a fertility clinic in Fairfax, Va.

And baby Jessica is just the beginning. Within a decade or two, it may be possible to screen kids almost before conception for an enormous range of attributes, such as how...

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