It is now possible to choose your child’s gender, but there has been controversy whether it is morally right. Science has created new technological methods that make this possible. These methods are known as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), MicroSort, Ericsson Method and Spin Method. However, these “scientific innovations” create social controversy over their reliability and their morality.
The IVF procedure is a fertility treatment that allows sperm and eggs to be combined in a laboratory. The resulting embryo or embryos are then transferred to the woman’s uterus, where they grow into a baby. The IVF requires strict qualification for the procedure; not everyone passes. Babycenter.com states that even if one qualifies for IVF, the success rate for women younger than 35 is 41 percent, and in addition, there are side effects for this process. Women have an increased risk during pregnancy, the chance of having twins or more is about 20 percent, and lastly, the babies are more likely to be born prematurely or have a low birth weight.
One of the reasons parents use gender selection is to create a “family balancing.” For example, a family has three girls; therefore to create more “balance” for the family, they undergo the above procedure to produce a boy. However, this allowance to choose the gender could actually offset the balance of the sexes. Cultures, such as India and China, are examples of the balance being tilted. For every 120 boys there are 100 girls in China, and for India, there are 933 females for every 1000 males. The argument of “family balancing” has been proved ineffective.
Another reason for gender selection is to prevent diseases being passed down to children. Before transferring the embryo into the woman’s uterus, the Preimplantation Genetic Testing method removes one or two cells from an embryo and tests them for genetic or chromosomal disorders. ABC News states that this method is the most successful, but it has not been proven to have a hundred percent success rate. Although these methods are used for preventing future genetic disorders, a single round of IVF with Preimplantation Genetic Testing can cost more than $20,000. Furthermore, during the IVF procedure, embryo selection is occurring. Scientists select the best embryo for the family, and the unwanted embryos are left frozen in a freezer or thrown away.
There have also been “natural methods” that help increase the possibilities of having wanted gender; although these methods have no scientific evidence to be supported. These methods include dieting certain food, timing one’s ovulation and one’s behavior.
Many argue that parents should love their children unconditionally no matter what their gender is.
“Great value should be put on the unconditional nature of parental love,” Suzi Leather, head of the U.K.’s Human Fertilization & Embryology Authority, said at the time of the November 2003 ruling.
Being born in a laboratory makes it harder for a child to fit in. Children are the issue of our love, not the product of our wills,” the members of the President’s Council on Bioethics said about gender selection in a recent report.
The best method, I believe, is to let nature to take its course and love a child unconditionally.
–Cindy Mendez Moreno