Sex selection - a commentary on ethics

Essay by flames1823High School, 12th gradeB+, October 2008

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Should IVF couples be given the power to gender select embryos. The Bioethics council has recommended to the government that parents be given the right to pick and choose the sex of their babies. But is this right? Would it be ethical for people with fertility problems to choose which fertilized embryos get implanted and have the rest discarded as being the 'wrong' gender? Presently IVF embryos are tested only for genetic disorders and it's against the law to pick and choose the sex of the baby to be. Under the current law people can be charged $200,000 or be jailed for up to five years if they decide to do this.

Sex selection is wrong, it is discrimination based on gender. Why should individuals have the right to choose who gets born and which types of lives are acceptable? In traditional patriarchal societies, such as India and China, the preference for boys has led to huge imbalances in the sex ratio and population.

What's to say that this could not happen amongst the Asian and Indian communities in New Zealand if sex selection is made legal?Most people would use gender selection in the case of 'family balancing' (where a family has one or more children of one sex and wants a child of the opposite sex). Hypothetically a family could use the IVF process because they are desperate for a girl. What's to say that this girl will not be a tomboy who grows up to be a builder? If we allow sex selection we are opening the door to the choice of other characteristics such as appearance, height and physical characteristics. "The door to designer babies will not have been opened a crack - it will have been thrown wide open." says Charles Perini from the...