Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sex Selection Formally Approved in Britain

In the US, my understanding is that sex selection in IVF is commonly used for sex-linked genetic conditions and less commonly for non-medical reasons. Many IVF centers in the US offer sex selection and there are no rules against it. From Slate:
Last month, a committee of the British Parliament recommended allowing couples who conceive through in vitro fertilization to screen their embryos for sex. There are good reasons to take issue with easing the way for couples to choose whether to give birth to boys or girls. But whatever you think about the parliamentary committee's conclusion, from an American perspective the committee's existence and the tone of its report are enviable. The British government is taking on hard questions raised by reproductive technology. And while the committee split 6 to 5 on sex selection and research involving cloned human embryos, the division was about principles rather than partisanship, with members of Labor and Tory lining up on both sides.

American conservatives sometimes belittle British bioethics as chatter among liberals who inevitably say yes to whatever new practice is on the table. But a broader range of opinion in Congress hasn't led the U.S. government to say no to sex selection or other questions raised by the genetic screening of embryos, like whether the parents of a child with a rare genetic disease should be able to test for a tissue match so they can bear a life-saving sibling. Instead, there's been little civic debate on these topics at all...

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