Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Sister's Keeper & Gattaca: Designer Babies - Organ Donation

This is an excellent movie with a controversial issue being discussed. Great acting and plot. An emotional movie that will touch your hearts. I simply love it and strongly recommend it.

A. Read the definition of designer babies provided by Wikipedia:

The colloquial term "designer baby" refers to a baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected by genetic engineering, combined with in vitro fertilization to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes or characteristics. The term is derived by comparison with "designer clothing". It implies the ultimate commodification of children and is therefore usually used pejoratively to signal opposition to such use of reprogenetics. Designer babies is a term used by journalists to describe it; it is not a term used by scientists. (Wikipedia)

B. Work in groups. Decide whether you agree or disagree with the statements below about designer babies. Write P if you think the information is a Pro or C if you think it is a Con. Justify your answers.

( ) Babies Genetic screening can reduce the baby's chances of being born with several serious diseases like Down Syndrome, Famial hypercholesterolemia, rare blood disorders such as Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, etc.

( ) This technique is not limited to screening for genetic and hereditary disorders, but is also used for cosmetic reasons.

C. Decide in your groups if you agree with the statements below. Justify your choices: Write A if you agree and D if you disagree.

( ) Adolf Hitler was on a quest to create a race of Aryan Blond, blue eyed and tall people. Creating designer babies is believed to be on the same lines. The question arises, which skin color and physical features are to be chosen.

( ) The advent of designer babies will effect biodiversity. Moreover, traits decided by parents, eliminates the say of the child in his or her life.

( ) Parents passionate about sports would have the athletic ability engineered into the child, however, the child may not want the same. This reduces the child's freedom to choose.

( ) If accepted, it will have a negative impact on the society. It will result in increase of unreasonable fear or hatred towards foreigners or anyone who appears different.

( ) People with genetic defects will be socially rejected. They will be called 'gene poor' and will be separated from the society too.

( ) Today, people who have genetic defects are already treated differently and cast out from society in several parts across the world. Designer babies concept will lead to discrimination on the basis of certain qualities or traits.

( ) Kids of rich families will receive genetic enhancement, leading to genetic aristocracy. This gives them an unfair advantage over the other children. People unable to afford genetic engineering will be looked down upon. Thereby, creating a greater rift in society.

( ) Most parts of the world are still male dominated, and sex or gender determination of the baby can lead to gender discrimination across the globe.

( ) Life will definitely be better for people will live longer and with fewer diseases.

( ) I would have a child genetically engineered if I had another child in need of a compatible organ to transplant for its survival.

( ) I would make my designer baby donate its organ to save another child of mine even if it did not want to donate it.

Information taken from the great site

D. Watch the first movie segment from the movie My Sister's Keeper and answer the questions that follow.

1. What's the main character's opinion about how most babies are generated?

2. What's her opinion about the way she was generated?

3. Why was she engineered?

4. What has changed since her sister got sick?

5. How would you describe the family's relationship?

E. Watch the second movie segment from the movie My Sister's Keeper and discuss the questions that follow in pairs.

1. What are the girl's arguments for not donating her kidney?

2. What is their family reaction?

3. Is she right to say what she did? Explain it.

4. What about her parents? Are they right to demand the donation?

5. What's your opinion ab out the situation?

F. Now watch the final segment from the same movie and discuss the questions:

1. What does the main character want to do?

2. Why does she want  to do that?

3. What's the lawyer's opinion about it?

4. What has she gone through since
she was born?

5. What are the possible consequences of her decision?

6. What's your
opinion about her decision? Is she right or wrong? Explain your answer?

7. Does she have the right to do it? Why (not)?

8. What would you do you if that girl were your own daughter, refusing to donate her kidney to save your other daughter?

G. Watch the segment from the movie Gattaca and discuss the questions:

1. What is the natural way most children will be conceived in the future?

2. What will parents be able to previously know about their babies by choosing to conceive their babies by screening cells?

3. What were the consequences of the parents' not having chosen to have a designer baby?

4. How did the parents decide to conceive their second child? Why did they do it? Were they completely happy about it? Explain it.

5. How different are Vincent and Anton?

6. Do you see this future as brighter or darker? Explain it.




  1. Great idea. Really like this warm-up. Am going to use it in class. Thanx.

    BKS -Aachen, Germany

  2. Thanks, I hope it works with you too.

  3. Thanks will help with GCSE cloning lesson

  4. Hi, do you have a youtube channel with the videos? I would really like to use this lesson in a class but I can´t find the same videos online! Thank you! :)

  5. The link to download the segments are in the end of the post. See you.