Will It Soon Be Acceptable to Select the Sex of Your Baby?
Dec 22, 2008 17:18
A recent poll by Spanish research foundation BBVA reveals that the majority of people in the developed world favor reproductive technologies like IVF. However, the majority are against using these technologies to choose the sex of children. Over at Sentient Developments, futurist George Dvorsky asks why this prejudice exists. He's "flabbergasted" that people are in favor of mixing babies up in test tubes, but not in favor of choosing to implant a fertilized egg that will be male rather than female. He thinks that's just unreasonable.
Couples in the developed world, where gender discrimination and biases are less prominent, should be allowed to use gender selection for family balancing purposes. I'm absolutely flabbergasted that this is still not a right in some countries, including Canada where couples and their doctors face the threat of large fines and jail terms.
Admittedly, not all countries are ready for sex selection; India and China certainly come to mind. But that's not our problem, nor is it an indication of how sex selection would be used here. The idea that sex selection would significantly skew the gender balance here in the developed world is terribly misguided and not based on any real evidence. Given the 2 children per couple tendency, it's highly likely that most couples would opt to have a boy and a girl.
Another argument against sex selection is that it is prejudicial by its very nature — that the very presence of preference indicates that gender biases exist and will continue to be reinforced. While this is a more nuanced argument, it fails to take into account an undeniable aspect of the human condition: we are a gendered species and gender differences do in fact exist.
Ethics and science don't get along. We all know that. Especially with all that stem cell hoo haa over the years. However, if choice comes to play, picking a child's gender is possibly dangerous to the overall population and male to female ratio, eventhough the propensity of good quality evolution does appear.
Is this the dawn of a "Gundam Seed" like age, where Naturals and Coordinators are separated by their superior abilities over the naturally conceived children? And are we heading to a world where rich people can design their own babies creating a system that's possibly unfair and bias to the powerful?
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