Who's Your Daddy? George Clooney? Brad Pitt? The World of Celebrity Genetics
Will the parents who were looking for a genetically beautiful baby ask about a return policy? Will they be so disappointed they got ugly instead of perfection that they’ll resent the kid and hide him from friends and family? After nine months telling everyone you’re giving birth to a Brett Favre /The Rock hybrid, if Clint Howard pops up in your cradle you're due for some social awkwardness. Unconditional love is expected when the child has no physical expectations placed upon it, but when you specifically tailor your request for a future stud muffin, friends and family may wonder whether to offer congratulations or sympathy.
Of course, there’s a serious side to this:
Bioethicists are divided over the program. Sperm banks routinely allow clients to search based on ethnic background, hair color, eye color, and skin tone. They offer extensive details such as donors' height, weight, and educational background.
"There are legitimate reasons for this, so the child fits in with the already existing children in the family or so the child looks more like the social father," said Mark Rothstein, director of the Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. "Most people would consider that to be acceptable. ... If you're creating a little Keanu Reeves, then I have problems with that."
The idea of creating babies with the intent of them being beautiful is yet another byproduct of a society where girls get breast implants at 14, where a 12 is considered plus-size, and where the media and fashion industry push ideas of perfection that are generally unattainable. Granted, the people who would use the look-alike service are few, but the service's existence speaks volumes. Maybe a couple thinks their child will have a better chance at success in life if they look like a handsome actor -- there’s no guarantee the genetic gamble will pay off, but the idea may appeal to many.
Prospective parents may like this feature because Cryobank does not offer photos of its donors, and the celebrity look-alike gimmick is one way to give them an idea of who their donor may be. But there will be a single woman in New York who wants to raise her very own Russell Crowe, or a couple in California giddy at the prospect of a little David Beckham. I feel empathy for the kids of those parents, seeking therapy trying to figure out why nothing they do is good enough for them. Perhaps they find out about what happened someday or discover angry letters the parents sent to Cryobank demanding a refund.
Then again, I feel worse for the kid whose parents requested the Quentin Tarantino look-alike and got what they wanted.