a child made to order
psychological thriller (movie)
A child made to order
“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Production year: In development
IMDB Link: NA
Running length: 90 mins
Production company: Edelzek
Will our children be there for us so they can meet our needs and expectiations,
or will we be there for them and raise them with uncoditional love?
Piotr Ryczko (from the novel “A child made to order”)
The whats, the whys, and what fors
A child made to order is about Viola, an investigative journalist, whose search for a missing woman uncovers illegal gene therapy treatments. Viola is then faced with the dilemma of whether she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.
This Norwegian/Polish film project is currently in development and has participated in the prestigious MIDPOINT story development program organised by the Polish National Film School and Czech National Film School – FAMU. The production for this movie is planned as a Norwegian/Polish co-production.
A child made to order is a psychological thriller novel that tackles, not some far-off future technological themes, but the present reality of Genetics. Something that every parent will have to take a standpoint on. The novel also elaborates on the current difficulties infertile women face in their struggles to become mothers. Future parents and women coping with childlessness are whom I would like to reach with this story.
Through the story A child made to order, I would like to look at how biotechnology influences our world, the society we live in and most importantly the individual. The first thing that drew me to this matter is the moral ambivalence of the real live cases and the future of medical practice in this field. A subject matter which has rather a lot of gray shaded areas than pure black and whites, where there are no obvious moral stances. The second thing was how current this topic is. A future presented in Gattaca might have seemed distant but A child made to order shows we are right in the middle of it and it’s a revolution. So we need to ask, where do we set the limits both medically and ethically on how far we should intervene with mother nature? Are we prepared to give our children a better/more efficient head start with the biotech available. And at what cost? Based on what values do we bring our kids to the world? In what image and with which ideals do we conceive our children?
Finally on a more personal note. Although this project is a carefully plotted drama/thriller that is meant to engage and entertain the audience, it has also become an intensely personal journey for me. Overcoming my lifelong struggle with social anxiety has given me the emotional fuel to pen the inner journey of the main character of this novel, Viola, whose character arc is breaking out of the destructive mould caused by her infertility.
For more on the themes of this story, please see my blog: www.storygeist.com
To read more about the movie, please seeA child made to order – the novel
We are genetic Gods but what about our children?
If you want controversy about our future and the moral choices we are making about our species, then look no further than the topic of Biogenetics. Not only has the method of in vitro caused some extreme reactions from the more religiously inclined, but on the horizon we are beginning to see the dawn of the human made in the laboratory. And it’s causing a storm.
Serious science and technology press is touting the recent advancements notevolutionary but revolutionary.In the course of less than a decade have we gone from unprecise and methods with random results at best, to clinically precise incision into each and single gene. This coupled with the Genome project is beginning to give us limitless powers. The genetically engineered embryoes and babies are not science fiction stuff fare but the stuff which you and I will be forced to deal with in the next decade, if you want a healthy baby.If you think that’s a mouthful, listen to this.
The company Fertility industries which works with what they call “Balancing the family” will gladly help you out with your family. For a small sum of USD 10K they offer a treatment which will enable you to choose the sex of your child. The clinic guarantees almost 100% success rate and if it’s a failure there is even amoney back guarantee. How about that folks? The clinic supposedly also executes close to 400 of these treatments every year. But wait, it doesn’t stop there. As if the sex choice didn’t ring any alarm bells, the clinic also suggest you might wanna choose the color of your baby’s eyes or hair. Through the process of Preimplanation Diagnosis, the embryos are chosen and discarded in the name of beauty and parent’s whimsical estethic choices. The whole thing caused quite a public stir. At which the clinic decided to withdraw the abovementioned offer. But for how long and in what other shape will this appear in?
A not so clear divide after all
You would think that the ethical borders would be easy to set in this matter. Wouldn’t that be the easiest way to end this discussion? One thing is to cure serious diseases like cancer, Aids, Autism and Huntington but another are comsetical changes to our offspring with the goal of creating better versions of ourselves. Isn’t that clearly desginer babies at work? And aren’t we forgetting a simple fact, that children are not things or objects which can be manipulated at will, but living and breathing beings who deserve even more compassion, because of their fragile and semi-concious state. But the answers in these matters are still far from clear cut.
Despite that the genetic therapies can be the root to healing for even the most serious diseases, it is still very difficult to state if these modifications will not cause any unwanted side effects. And we are not just talking about some unwanted side effects which would be relatively easy to reveal at birth. But about side effects which could ripple downward several generations without being noticed at teh early stage. These side effects could show up even a 100 years later and have a devastating effect on not only a family but they could spread out all over the gene pool and contaminate it. How do you reverse this kind of Godlike enginnering? How do you undo God? So despite the best of intentions, we might be curing the most deadly of diseases or we might be playing with fire. A fire which will not be easy to put out.
“The starting point should be: Do these practices (gene therapies) hurt anyone? If so who do they hurt? If they don`t hurt the kid, the parents or society, then in my opinion, they should be made legal. This is surely not the best use of the public money, but if someone is prepared to pay for it, why should it be illegal?”
Philosopher Ole Martin Moen
All the best opportunites in this rat race called life
If we leave the whole gene therapy out of the equations. Just for a moment. Are we in the clear then? Or come to think of it, do we not make a ton of procreational choices now? Consciously or unconsciously, we do. Are we not prepared to supply our children with all kinds of minerals, vitamins, diet supplements. All this in the name of a healthier future for them. If we go further with this thinking, then the whole raising of our children is actually about these kind of choices. The best of schools, the best toys, and the best teachers, caretakers. All in all the best opportunites we as parents can afford. Who would want to save money on that? Would you? We as parents, feel naturally inclined and responsible to provide our children with the very best. So you could actually make an argument, why wouldn’t you want to give the same to your child before it was born? What’s wrong with that?
So if we backtrack a few steps here and conclude we want to stay with only curing the diseases. If that is out ethical border, then where exactly is it supposed to be placed? Let’s see another example which I think illustrates curing diseased is far from so ethically black and white. A deaf lesbian couple from Chicago decided to conciously choose the embryos which would give them children witth the same character traits of deafness as them. The couple were convinced that their lack of hearing wasn’t some kind of ailment but a natural human state. And they wished for their children to be exaclty like them.This case cuased a huge public stir and caused opposing ethical camps. And it’s still difficult to actually position one self in this matter. Is it the curing of a disease or simply causing irreversible damage to one’s offspring?
So what about our children? Are we to give them the best chance at a healthy life through different genetic manipulations? Or do we not only stop there but we supply our children with the best character and physical traits a life can give? Is it supposed to be regulated by the state or do we just leave it to the single family unit and their own moral compasses? And are we not moving dangerously close to the Hitler’s Eugenics program? How far are we prepared to go, morally and financially in this case?