Testing Embryos for IQ
In 2018, an American biotechnology company developed a test that could identify if an embryo created through in-vitro fertilisation would become a person with a low intelligence quotient. As the same approach could be used to predict if an embryo will become a person with an above average intelligence quotient, such tests raise questions about reproductive choice and what sort of children prospective parents should have the freedom to create through assisted reproductive technology. Much of the literature on the ethics of selecting for non-disease characteristics was published prior to the development of any test for such characteristics. This article reviews and applies these arguments in the context of the Australian regulatory framework and the technology that is currently available: a test for intelligence quotient. It examines the concept of reproductive liberty and how this concept should be balanced against the welfare of the future child. The article also considers reasons extraneous to the future child’s welfare and asks if any such reasons are good enough to restrict the reproductive liberty of prospective parents.