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Document Details :
Title: Male or Female, We Will Create Them
Subtitle: The Ethics of Sex Selection for Non-Medical Reasons
Author(s): HEYD, David
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 10 Issue: 3-4 Date: 2003
The article examines the arguments for and against the practice of sex selection for non-medical reasons (e.g. parental preferences, family balancing, religious reasons) in the light of the new technology of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). It distinguishes between arguments about the risks to the future child, the mother and society, on the one hand, and the inherent wrongness of the practice as an illegitimate interference in the natural course of reproduction, on the other. The article tries to show that at least in the well defined context of sex selection by PGD, when IVF was performed for independent medical reasons, there is no danger to either the child or the mother and hence that the practice should be permitted. Furthermore, the alleged dangers to society are demonstrated to be mostly illusory. On the one hand, the demographic danger is usually overstated and lacks historical support. On the other hand, the feminist claim that sex selection is necessarily discriminatory is found to be both theoretically and empirically groundless. The article’s conclusion is that despite widespread intuitive objection to the practice of sex selection, it can be justified in terms of parental autonomy and falls within the value of family planning. This liberal view does not, however, imply that having a child of the desired sex is the parents’ right, nor does it apply to sex selection in later phases of gestation (abortions and, obviously, infanticide).