On 24 September 2013, the American Company, 23andMe, succeeded in "patenting a method allowing parents to choose specific traits in their unborn babies" as part of a medically assisted procreation programme. The method is as follows: gamete donor selection based on computer-assisted genetic calculations.
According to the 23andMe Company, which "nevertheless recognises that the method is not infallible" […] "it is simply a way of ensuring that the baby has a ‘greater’ opportunity to develop desirable traits within the scope of medically assisted procreation". According to the authors of the comment published in the Genetics in Medicine journal, "the use of pre-implantation diagnostics to prevent the implantation of embryos carrying serious genetic anomalies is fast becoming current practice. However, the use of a computer programme to select gamete donors in order to produce a baby with the characteristics desired by his/her parents seems to have even greater implications because the process involves the selection of traits that are not disease-related".
(*) Sigrid Sterckx, Julian Cockbain, Heidi C. Howard, Pascal Borry – Institut de bioéthique à Gand, Belgique : "I prefer a child with…": designer babies, another controversial patent in the arena of direct-to-consumer genomics