Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ethicists find UK ban on embryo sex selection 'unjustifiable'

Date:
July 3, 2013
Source:
Keele University
Summary:
As Europe’s leading fertility specialists gather at a conference in London this weekend, a major new publication from leading medical ethicists finds no justification to support the UK’s legal ban on sex selection before pregnancy for ‘social’ reasons.

As Europe's leading fertility specialists gather at a conference in London this weekend, a major new publication from leading medical ethicists finds no justification to support the UK's legal ban on sex selection before pregnancy for 'social' reasons.

Related Articles


Overall, the ethicists found that new techniques to choose the sex of future children would be ethical to offer in the UK, based solely on parents' preference to have a child of a particular sex. The in vitro techniques are used at the embryonic stage or earlier, and at present are only legally permitted for use in the UK to avoid the birth of babies with medical problems such as sex-linked inherited disorders.

Findings

No population-level sex ratio imbalance would occur if sex selection using fertility treatments were permitted for non-medical reasons, within a strong regulatory framework.

No ethical distinction was found between providing 'family balancing' (sex selection to ensure that a new sibling is of the opposite sex to existing children), or sex selection for an only child, the firstborn, or for every child in a family, including selecting all the children to be of the same sex.

Sexism was not found to be inherent in the wish to choose the sex of a baby. Some requests reflect a high value placed on each gender being represented within a family. Other requests may stem from sexism or gender stereotyping, but these attitudes in themselves do not pose such risks to children that sex selection should be prohibited.

The authors concluded that, in the UK, it would not be right for 'social' sex selection treatments to be funded by the taxpayer. Proper regulation would be also required to minimise any harmful effects of treatments carried out for non-medical reasons.

British couples with the resources to do so are reported to be travelling overseas for costly sex-selection treatments involving IVF and embryo testing, or novel sperm 'sorting' techniques, although no official record is kept of their numbers.

These cross-border treatments may pose obstacles to the follow up of the resulting children's health. In some circumstances, they might involve fewer clinical or legal safeguards than would be in place if patients were able to access equivalent treatments in the UK.

Professor Stephen Wilkinson, Professor of Bioethics at Lancaster University, and lead author of 'Eugenics and the Ethics of Selective Reproduction', said: 'We examined the ethics of gender preference and sex selection techniques in the British context and found no reason to expect harm to future children or wider society if these techniques were made available for 'social' reasons within our regulated fertility treatment sector.

'People who would prefer their new baby to be of a particular sex often have their own very personal reasons for this, to do with their family's particular circumstances or history. We didn't find any ethical arguments sufficient to justify a blanket ban on these people seeking sex selection.

'As IVF and other techniques can now fulfil these often strongly-felt preferences, it's important to ask why wishing for a girl or a boy baby might be so wrong that parents must be stopped from attempting to achieve it in the UK.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Keele University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Keele University. "Ethicists find UK ban on embryo sex selection 'unjustifiable'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702202829.htm>.
Keele University. (2013, July 3). Ethicists find UK ban on embryo sex selection 'unjustifiable'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702202829.htm
Keele University. "Ethicists find UK ban on embryo sex selection 'unjustifiable'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702202829.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins