Couples should be able to design the characteristics of children - including personality traits -during IVF treatment, according to an Oxford University expert.

Australian-born ethicist and chair of Oxford’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics Julian Savulescu told NEWS.com.au that couples seeking IVF should have the right to give their future-child “greater opportunities” through genetic manipulation.

“If they were having IVF for other reasons and they wanted to select from a bunch of embryos already created for some legitimate purpose, I don’t see why we shouldn’t give couples information that (manipulation is) available,” Savulescu said.

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“If we could enable couples to influence the degree of self-control that their children have, I think that’s the sort of thing we should be offering people," he said.

“My own belief is that if we give children more genetic capabilities we simply give them more choices and more opportunities in life,” continued Savulescu.