Within the next two years, gene editing could become routine, experts say, allowing parents-to-be to create "designer babies."

Originally intended to help protect people from genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia, cancer and dementia, gene editing could conceivably be used for other purposes, such as determining hair or eye color, CNN reports.

The gene editing process is thought to pose a low risk to embryos, and has already been used by one scientist in China to make babies resistant to HIV. Those experiments have since been suspended.

"If several common disorders could be avoided or delayed by genetically modifying humans, the average disease-free lifespan could be substantially extended," Kevin Smith, a bioethicist at Abertay University in Scotland, said in a written statement.

Still, Smith admits that most people oppose gene editing. That, he anticipates, will change over time. Critics aren't so certain and have serious concerns.

"I do not believe that there are adequate experiments that will 'prove' that this technology is safe," Joyce Harper with the University College London Institute for Women's Health told CNN. "So we need to tread carefully."