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thread: Ethics of artificial sex selection

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jun 2008
    In snuggle land

    Ethics of artificial sex selection

    I'm not sure how to write this without being judgemental because of my own beliefs and experiences. But I'm interested in understanding others' perspectives, because I struggle with it. I write this understanding that BB has a gender disappointment PSG and that this disappointment is very real to people.

    Is it ethical to use ART for sex selection? If so, why? If not, why not?

    My personal opinion is that it is not. To create life in the form of an embryo and reject it based solely on sex seems abhorrent to me. If you take into account the fact that IVf/PGD has low rates of success yet women/couples are willing to put themselves through financial, emotional and physical stress to get a boy or girl, then others obviously disagree with me. I can sort of understand people who come from a culture like China or India, where one sex is valued more than the other. I disagree with it, but I can see how cultural mores influence that choice. I struggle to comprehend how people who do not have that cultural expectation can use ART to select one embryo over another, not based on chance of pregnancy success, not based on medical need, but just based on a personal preference for one sex over the other.

    I realise my experience colours my view. I'd be grateful for a healthy, live child of either sex. After DS1 died, I was devastated at the thought of not being able to raise a boy. After DS2 died, I couldn't care less. Boy, girl, 2 boys, 2 girls, I don't care. At one time we thought we'd sway for a girl because our sons kept dying and maybe we'd have a better chance at a live baby with a girl. There's no medical proof of that theory, it's just a fear of another baby death.

    It's not like there's any guarantee that little boy or little girl will turn out how you expect anyway. Each child's personality is their own. Just wishing for a little girl to dress in pink and take to dance class and have girly shopping days with doesn't mean you get it. She may rather dress in jeans and catch tadpoles and think shopping is boring. That may be a simplistic way of seeing it, because I really don't understand. What do people actually expect to get using artificial sex selection?

    Do we put conditions on loving or accepting our children now? Or am I missing something?

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2005
    North Queensland

    I did a Uni presentation on this once.

    There are some genetic disorders which can only pass onto one particular gender. In situations like these, where its a medical issue, I believe the choice has some grounds.

    However, if its a social decision, I dont agree with it at all. I don't care if you've got 8 boys already and all you want is a girl. If the choice was supposed to be ours, it wouldn't be a biological process.

    This issue is closely linked to selective reduction, which I have the same beliefs regarding.

  3. #3

    Mar 2004

    What Sara said.
    If it is because of a genetic condition that is life threatening/not compatible with life and that genetic condition will only be passed along to one gender then I'm ok with it. If it's just because you want a child of a particular gender then I really think that you need to deal with your gender disappointment and move on.
    I get that some cultures value sons more but I'm also of the opinion that some cultural traditions are just plain stupid and son worship is one of them. It is damaging to sons as well as to daughters (I say this as the wife of a victim of son worship).
    I don't think that people need to be concerned about balancing their families - my family is not unbalanced because we have two sons. We're unbalanced because we have issewes The way I see it I have 2 sons and my brother has 2 daughters - the balance is perfect once I look outside my nuclear unit.

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Oct 2009
    Bonbeach, Melbourne

    Yeah, if it's purely for the fact that you'd prefer one gender...I find it creepy and toeing a line I'm not comfortable with. Obviously medical necessity is different, but on the whole, gender selection for the sake of a preferred gender = not for me.

  5. #5

    Dec 2006

    I couldn't agree more L&B.
    I totally understand gender swaying. Never have, never will get the chance to try it!

    I think the children who were genetically selected have an enomous amount of pressure on them to fulfill their parents dreams of them. I think their unselected siblings would have massive issues regarding their lack of ability to make their parents happy or satisfied. And to have already failed their parents so young...what a life for them.

    Before you say that children have all sorts of horrible upbringings and parents who gender select are not mistreating them - the two things are not the same. The emotional harm caused to these children and their siblings cannot be avoided.

    I can't stomach the thought. My family might not suit everyone, but i am so so lucky to have it - however male dominated it may be! Any girl being brought into our family would find it hard not to have the male dominance rub off! And she may never marry (so i might never be mother of the bride) and she may never have children (so i might never be the grandma of my daughters children). I'm not sure what hole there would have to be in my life for me to need to fill it with a gender specific child.

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2008
    Near the Snowies!

    Medical reasons, yes I understand. Just because you'd prefer one sex over the other, no I don't agree.
    I know of someone in our rather small town who has had two of these procedures done, she had to go overseas, plus the cost of actually doing it, is absolutely astronomical! All because she wanted a couple of girls (she already had some boys). I couldn't help thinking that what if after all that, the pregnancy never progressed to full term..getting pregnant and staying pregnant is so emotional anyway, but to go through all that extra emotional and financial strain, just for a particular sex?

  7. #7

    Mar 2004

    The cost..... it's not really fair on your existing children is it? To take that much out of the family budget for sex-selection. It's a family holiday or a few years of piano lessons or a huge chunk of the interest on your mortgage...

  8. #8
    2014 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.
    Add Sunny Love on Facebook

    Apr 2009
    In a place where Love is what we breathe!

    I've read over this thread a few times now, and my opinions have altered each time slightly, and i've been unable to form an honest and true answer.
    I do 'get' everyones POV's, and maybe i'm 'TOO' pro choice about most issues in life and that's why I cannot make a b&w decision abolut my own ethics, I feel like I feel everyone's anguish. I really can't answer your opening questions L&B re: ethics and ART, sorry.

    But yes, people's life experiences do form their judgement and that's what I 100% believe in. xx
    Last edited by Sunny Love; June 6th, 2012 at 08:02 PM.

  9. #9
    You were RAK'ed in 2015.
    Add beansbeans! on Facebook

    May 2008
    with the fairies and butterflies

    Personally i dont agree with it on any terms. I think god, the universe, our higher power only deals us cards that we can deal with. That is being said without having to worry about either dh or i carrying the genes that cause the need for medical selection. Maybe if I was in different boots I would have a diferent point of view?

    Selection on the grounds on wanting a particular gender child in my mind is selfish. And I agree with Sara, that if we were meant to be able to choose then it wouldnt be the way it is and always has been.
    Dh and I have talked about having 3 girls and people asking if we wanted to try for a boy. I am happy with our girls, I dont feel the need to try for a boy. Dh is the same.

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Oct 2006
    In a house, on a hill with a big fat welcome mat!

    Hmmm I have to say I read another thread and got a bit sad so didn't comment.
    Everyone has their own point of view and has their own wants and desires.
    My opinion is after doing an ivf cycle in April, why would anyone put themselves through that if they didn't have to (I know I didn't HAVE to but I did itms) and then discard an embryo based on being the wrong sex.
    I know I may get flamed here but far out I just, as many others on here want, a healthy full term alive baby so I guess I don't understand why the gender would drive people to do this. Medical genetic reasons aside.
    Maybe I am jaded....
    Ps many of us might not be here if our parents got to choose our sex... Just saying.

  11. #11
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2011

    I have an aunt who has three boys. Growing up we all new she dreamed of a girl. I was spoilt rotten because I was the daughter she never had. I find it sad that the image I was given was that having all boys is 'bad'. I feel even sadder for her sons. If she was given the opportunity to select the sex I believe she would have done so. I don't believe it would have made her happy though. Something else is missing if there is that much difficulty accepting you have three healthy and lovely boys.

    As someone who has struggled to fall pregnant it is even harder to comprehend why the gender matters so much. However this I guess has more to do with my experience. For medical reasons I can see the a place for gender selection.

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2008

    I believe that it would be cruel and pointless for a fertile couple to go through miscarriage and baby loss if there was some way medically possible to eliminate a genetic disorder through gender selection.

    People that do it through want.... I don't get you. No disrespect intended. I just don't get how someone could love/want one sex more than another.

  13. #13
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2008
    Home with my Son :)

    Same as above.. I agree for medical purposes, but not for anything else. Maybe my experiences shaped me, I was just glad to be having a baby. Admittedly, when I was pg with the twins I 'wanted' one of each, but I didn't really care. I realise that gender disappointment is real, but it's something I don't understand..

  14. #14
    Registered User

    Sep 2008

    I too have a problem with gender selection - and it totally stems from our TTC journey. After going through the heartbreak that we may not even realise our dream of having a family, it made me very judgemental of people who have a family all the same gender who don't realise the gift they have - healthy children regardless of gender.

    I think that issues with infertility, stillbirth, miscarriage etc put it all in perspective for us - suddenly the very importance of having a healthy baby/child is so much more important than what colour they are.

    We have a DS, the baby we are currently cooking is our DD. Since telling people we are carrying a girl, I have at times been quite dumbfounded by the comments made of "Oh, a perfect family, one of each, how perfect etc etc etc" Don't get me wrong, I am delighted to be having a daughter, I have a great relationship with my own mum and hope to have the same with my own child, and experience her having children (hopefully) etc etc, but I can 100% say that I would be equally delighted with another son. At times I have been a little shocked at people putting such high value on having both genders in the family.

    I am totally against gender selection from an IVF/ART perspective, creating healthy embryo's only to discard them based on gender is so totally totally wrong in my mind. I know some people don't agree with IVF as they think that it's over-riding nature's way of 'natural selection', however I totally disagree as these days infertility is just as much an environmental issue as a medical one (eg working in factories, being exposed to chemicals etc) are considered big impacts to fertility. We have created a lot of infertility issues, on top of those already 'naturally' occuring ITMS. Anyway, my point is I think its ok to rectify medical issues with treatments (Eg IVF), but the wrong gender is NOT a medical issue.

    As for gender selection based on medical issues affecting a certain sex in the family, I'm not totally against it - for example if a certain gender was impacted by a life threatening disease I am open to it - but it would have to be massively severe/debilitating/reducing life expectancy/quality of life etc

  15. #15
    Registered User

    Oct 2009
    Bonbeach, Melbourne

    I absolutely understand gender disappointment. After DD, for some reason still unknown to me, I was terrified of the idea of having a boy. The thought devastated me. And then, the thought that after that, I'd have ANOTHER boy, literally gave me panic attacks. I could think of nothing worse and I was so determined to have 3 girls, MAYBE a boy at the end. So I understand how one gender can be less wanted than the other. Now, I have no idea why I felt like that. I actually hope I'm having a boy now, but I don't care. Just want a healthy one, please. Sometimes we don't think or feel rationally. I do not think that because we have these feelings, we should be choosing the genders of our children. What next? Want only blue eyes, only tall children? I don't know. I understand gender disappointment, but I think I would accept that it was out of my control.

  16. #16
    Registered User

    Sep 2008

    I absolutely understand gender disappointment. After DD, for some reason still unknown to me, I was terrified of the idea of having a boy.
    hehehehe, PZ you remind me, not long after I found out we were having a girl, I had a bit of a panic attack thinking "But I only know what to do with a boy baby", I think it's completely normal, it's more about realising that you do in fact have the skills to parent a different sex (and we do, its just the great unknown)

  17. #17
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2008
    on a journey called life, finding our way home

    I am obviously a person that has written alot about this lately and the need I feel to have a daughter, I have also read and re read this thread deciding weather to put my point of view on here. I see that you all are against what I have been talking about. I honestly cannot explain the reasons for the feelings. I feel like I am missing out on something if I never have a daughter I asume it is a different kind of mothering that I would love to experience. I dont know if I would ever do the gender selecting, the money is a huge issue, and I dont think I would put my family through doing it.
    There are a few things that upset me Lenny mentioned that the unselected children would be damaged and feel like they have failed their parents, so does this not mean that you should be happy with 1 child? wouldnt the first child feel like they had failed the parents because they where not good enough, so you had to have more children?.

    I understand that this site has many different people with alot of different reasons for being here so I get that we all have opinions but to hear that if its not what god, the universe, higher power wanted to select the right gender. Isnt it the same thing when someone cannot get pregnant? is that god saying you where not meant to have children?

    This is just my view, I wanted to show the different side of the coin, the feelings of someone who would love to just experience what it was like to have a DD. We are trying for number 4 baby because this is what we feel will finish our family. We are swaying for a little girl if you can do such a thing to change the outcome. If its gods will we will have another DS and he will be just as loved as the 3 boys we already have.

  18. #18
    2014 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.
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    Apr 2009
    In a place where Love is what we breathe!

    Thank you for sharing another side to the coin foreva*your*mummy, believe me, all opinions matter and are genuine.
    Thanks for having the bravery to voice them.

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