NYT on Sex Selection
The NYT reports on the technology - and ethics - of sex selection:
Regardless of the method, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes sex selection except in people who carry a genetic disease that primarily affects one sex. But allowing sex selection just because the parents want it, with no medical reason, may support “sexist practices,” the college said in an opinion paper published this month in its journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology.However, the article also includes the opinion of an expert who seems to express a more tolerant stance on the issue:
Some people say sex selection is ethical if parents already have one or more boys and now want a girl, or vice versa. In that case, it’s “family balancing,” not sex discrimination. The MicroSort study accepts only people who have genetic disorders or request family balancing (they are asked for birth records), and a company spokesman said that even if the technique was approved, it would not be used for first babies.
The obstetricians group doesn’t buy the family-balance argument, noting that some parents will say whatever they think the doctor wants to hear. The group also says that even if people are sincere about family balance, the very act of choosing a baby’s sex “may be interpreted as condoning sexist values.”
Dr. Jeffrey M. Steinberg, from Encino, Calif., who has three clinics that offer sex selection and plans to open a fourth, in Manhattan, said: “We prefer to do it for family balancing, but we’ve never turned away someone who came in and said, ‘I want my first to be a boy or a girl.’ If they all said a boy first, we’d probably shy away, but it’s 50-50.”Previous posts on the subject: I, II, III, IV
“Reproductive choice, as far as I’m concerned, is a very personal issue,” Dr. Steinberg said. “If it’s not going to hurt anyone, we go ahead and give them what they want.”