Choose the Gender of Your Child

| October 16, 2003

A fertility clinic in Virginia is advertising a new technique that will allow Americans to choose whether their child is male or female. Marcy Darnovsky, reporting for Alternet, writes that the technique, called MicroSort, allows parents to choose the gender either for 'prevention of genetic diseases' -- selecting for an X-linked or Y-linked condition -- or for what the clinic, the Genetics & In-Vitro Fertilization Institute (GIVF), calls 'family balancing.'

Darnovsky notes significant ethical issues surrounding the idea of sex-selection. Most important is the possibility of a quick digression from sex-selection into trait selection: a consumer-based genetic eugenics that could increase sexism, put children at risk, and weaken disability rights. Such technology, if it should spread to South and East Asian countries, where the societal preference for males is already pronounced, could aggravate already severe problems for women.

Ethical issues aside, there is a great deal of money at stake: OrbiMed Advisors, an asset management firm, estimated the U.S. market at 'between $200 million and $400 million.' Thus, GIVF is going ahead with aggressively marketing sex selection for parents looking to choose.
-- Joel Stonington

Go there>>Sex Selection Goes Mainstream

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Caf? Utne: Discuss the ethics of gender selection in the Parenting forum