Imagine a future where, instead of having sex to conceive a baby as biologically intended, a couple instead drives to a clinic, sits down with a doctor and shops for an embryo designed with the couple’s own genes. According to Henry Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School, this future could become reality in two to three decades.

Greely says that by using stem cells taken from a couple’s skin or “other non-reproductive organs,” scientists will be able to manufacture egg and sperm samples, which will be combined to create composite embryos. This mean parents will be able to screen potential children for genetic abnormalities prior to conception. These screenings will detect a huge range of attributes, from pre-disposal to disease and gender to hair, skin and eye color.

Many are comparing Greely’s theory to Brave New World but the scientist argues this form of conception will not manufacture “designer” or “super” babies. Couples are merely selecting spliced embryos. That means each couple is limited by their own genetics, which are not perfect.

Sex will primarily be utilized as a source of pleasure.

The Atlantic initially reported on the research and adds that, unlike more physical attributes, geneticists won’t be able to predict behavioral traits, like how skilled a child will be at wielding a paint brush or a baseball bat. However, they may be able to anticipate some traits in broader, less certain strokes. For instance, being able to tell parents, “this embryo has a 60 percent chance of being in the top half [of their school class], this embryo has a 13 percent chance of being in the top 10 percent" is possible, Greely said.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is an embryo screening process that scientists have been getting familiar with in the last 25 years. This process currently allows for the detection of some genetic diseases and the sex of the embryo. While expensive and challenging in its current state, Greely believes that with new technology and the expanded use of stem cells, PGD will grow to become become increasingly streamlined and affordable.

However, The Atlantic argues that no matter how easy PGD becomes, it will remain ludicrously expensive. Of course, this classification means babies from wealthy families would gain even more advantages over other people before they leave the womb, since they’ll host preferred genetics. It also implicitly suggests that some traits, and thus some people, are preferable to others. Take skin color, hair color, height and weight as just a few examples.

Another big question brewing among sketptics: Is the process against God’s will? Many religious critics oppose PGD and argue it tampers with God’s plan. “I don’t have a lot of confidence in the intellectual strength of that argument, but I think it has a lot of visceral support,” Greely asserted. As ignorant as it may sound, he does have a point. Contraceptives have already separated sex from procreation. “Most people have sex and it doesn’t result in a baby,” he said. “They do it because they like it. They do it as a token of love. They do it because they’re forced to. They do it to make money.”

Greely later addressed his religious critics head-on. “I need a more intellectual argument than one ‘based on my faith’ or 'the tablets brought down from the mountain for me say this.’ There’s very little about our modern lives that’s natural or what a God from 3,000 years ago would have expected or wanted, including all of modern medicine.”

The implication then would be that sex will primarily be utilized as a source of pleasure. Still, even that luxury is being threatened by the likes sex robots and toys with scary levels of intimate knowledge. On the bright side, if PGD progresses the way Greely predicts, same-sex couples or couples with fertility issues will no longer feel helpless.