Should sex selection be allowed for “family balancing”?

I am thrilled to announce that my debate against sex selection has been included in Cambridge University Press: 50 Big Debates in Reproductive Medicine (Cambridge University Press), released just this spring.

This debate stems from the ethical dilemma that governments face regarding whether to allow a selection of gender as part of a person’s family building journey.  With about 1 in 6 Canadians experiencing infertility issues, many people ultimately create embryos to be implanted either into the female partner, or a surrogate. The embryos consist of either the intended parents own sperm/ova, or sperm/ova from a donor.  Many people then choose to have the embryos genetically tested for various diseases or genetic disorders. In the United States, sex selection is legal, and offered at many fertility clinics, so this option may be pursued.  Indeed, it is pursued – including by those who do not have fertility challenges.

In Canada, sex selection is not legal.

My reasons against sex selection are set out into 4 categories:

  1. Parenting by Stereotype
  2. ‘Missing’ females.
  3. Giving pre-implantation genetic screening a bad name
  4. Eugenics

If you are curious to know more about this specific debate, or the other 49 fascinating debates included in this publication, please feel free to contact me. The debates include many different medical, policy, genetic, scientific, ethical and social topics. To name a few: whether there should be upper age limits for fertility treatments, social egg freezing, use of acupuncture as part of a fertility treatment regime, use of vitamin D in pre-conception treatment, whether sperm/ova donation should be anonymous, matters of hormonal treatment, ultrasound monitoring, and the list goes on.

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