Family duty is a powerful force in China. Is that why so many couples signed up for the ‘CRISPR babies’ experiment?

Young adults in China feel a cultural obligation to have kids, and that likely motivated many HIV-positive people's interest in the 'CRISPR babies' trial.
A family walks through a public park in Beijing. Young adults in China feel a powerful cultural obligation to marry and have kids, and many of those who are HIV-positive feel guilt and shame over how their status could affect their families. Source: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

BEIJING — It’s been more than four years since the university student walked into an HIV testing center where Cui Zixiao worked, but he still vividly remembers what happened next. Told he was HIV-positive, the young man broke down in tears.

“I embarrassed myself and my family, how should I face my life going forward?” the distraught student cried out.

In the three years that Cui worked at the Beijing center, he estimates he counseled 300 to 400 people newly diagnosed as HIV-positive. Many expressed similar guilt and shame over how their status would affect their families. Young adults

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