The Controversy over Sex Selection in the 21st Century


Technology has achieved many breakthroughs over the years. Scientists and doctors have created safer pathways for babies to survive and be much healthier than past centuries. Medical conditions that are linked to the X or Y chromosomes are being discovered and understood. Diseases like, Hemophilia is dominant in men rather than women, therefore, if a parent knows the baby boy would have a chance of having it, they could choose a girl instead. The amazing technology that allows the gender of a baby to be revealed before birth is astonishing. New parents are most likely eager to know the gender of their baby before it is born, so that the supplies the baby will need can correspond to the commonality of pinks and blues. Sex selection has changed all of this. Sex selection is a clinical procedure that can give parents a way to choose what the baby's gender will be. Procedures can be done in multiple ways such as the ones stated in the article, "A Right to Choose? Sex Selection in the International Context" written by Ashley Bumgarner, "Sperm sorting, PGD, and selective abortion," (1289). Now, the parents of the unborn child can choose whether the XX or XY zygote is going to be born. This procedure has shocked the public and the legalization of it has been a hotspot for controversy. Sex selection should be illegal for a clinic to offer if it's not for a medical issue. Sex selection may be the solution for parents who know that there is a sex-linked disease that the baby will receive. If that is not the case, sex selection is an invasion of a baby's future freedom and is discriminatory of the two genders. And lastly, like Tom Shakespeare in his article, "Birds, Bees and Laser Beams. (Comment and Analysis)" says, "Children should be accepted for themselves, not to the extent that they fulfil our wishes and desires" (25).


Technology has achieved many breakthroughs over the years. Scientists and doctors have created safer pathways for babies to survive and be much healthier than past centuries. Medical conditions that are linked to the X or Y chromosomes are being discovered and understood. Diseases like, Hemophilia is dominant in men rather than women, therefore, if a parent knows the baby boy would have a chance of having it, they could choose a girl instead. The amazing technology that allows the gender of a baby to be revealed before birth is astonishing. New parents are most likely eager to know the gender of their baby before it is born, so that the supplies the baby will need can correspond to the commonality of pinks and blues. Sex selection has changed all of this. Sex selection is a clinical procedure that can give parents a way to choose what the baby's gender will be. Procedures can be done in multiple ways such as the ones stated in the article, "A Right to Choose? Sex Selection in the International Context" written by Ashley Bumgarner, "Sperm sorting, PGD, and selective abortion," (1289). Now, the parents of the unborn child can choose whether the XX or XY zygote is going to be born. This procedure has shocked the public and the legalization of it has been a hotspot for controversy.


Sex selection should be illegal for a clinic to offer if it's not for a medical issue. Sex selection may be the solution for parents who know that there is a sex-linked disease that the baby will receive. If that is not the case, sex selection is an invasion of a baby's future freedom and is discriminatory of the two genders. And lastly, like Tom Shakespeare in his article, "Birds, Bees and Laser Beams. (Comment and Analysis)" says, "Children should be accepted for themselves, not to the extent that they fulfil our wishes and desires" (25).A baby's age and living environment are already controlled by the parents' will to have the baby. The baby's future is impacted by these factors such as, the year the baby will turn 18 and the type of financial needs the baby will have. The only thing the baby can have for itself is the randomness of the gender they're going to be. The parents choose everything else for the baby, from the name of the child to every rule they set during the child's life. Yet, traits are uncontrollable, but at one point in time, so was the gender and it was okay with parents. Parents can't choose every trait such as, eye or hair color, so why should they be able to control a much larger factor like gender? The parents should not be able to choose their baby's gender for any reason aside from medical because, it puts another constraint or control over the baby's freedom of randomly chosen gender.


There can be more issues in the future if the individual does not agree with the gender their parents picked. Knowing that the parents chose the gender may cause the baby (when it's older) to react differently. Neil Levy agrees with this in his article titled, "Against Sex Selection" by saying that, "By taking steps to raise the probability (or, as they might see it, to ensure) that their children have certain psychological dispositions, parents signal that they will channel their children in certain directions," (112). Levy explains that parents views politically or emotionally, often influence the child's views of the world. The parents are bringing a child into the world that will grow up to make a life for itself and its own decisions. The world is about decision making, and the freedom to make personal decisions freely. So, if the parents were to choose the gender of the baby they are going to have, they would be limiting the freedom of the child's personal decision making. The parents already get to decide when they're going to have the baby and what they're going to name it and so on.


The conservative way of thinking about this topic is purely to not let this choice get out of control. The choice of letting people decide their babies' gender and take over most of the random makeups of a child, may cause more harm than good. Therefore, the baby should be able to leave its gender up to chance.There are two genders. A baby can either be a XX or and XY zygote. Again, with sex selection, the parents can choose which they prefer. Does nature have its own way of balancing how many boys and girls there are in the world? Have humans already set it off balance? Yes, it has and, in many ways, then one. Angela M Long's paper titled, "Why Criminalizing Sex Selection Techniques is Unjust: An Argument Challenging Conventional Wisdom" Bonnie Steinbock states, "A study in India noted, in 1995, that approximately 300,000 female infants die each year due to "gender discrimination," which includes both the willful killing of the child or neglect that causes death. (7)" (71).


This is quite odd and happens in more than just these countries. These examples and more illustrate some real beliefs behind wanting to choose the gender of an unborn child. The baby's gender may be a religious preference, but the baby may not have agreed with the religion when it is older. Overall, the preference of a child's gender can be thought about, but when the preference is not as expected and is wanted to be changed, the act becomes more dangerous for both genders. The parents should love the child no matter their gender is, and not be discriminatory towards the opposite.Again, the parents should accept the child for whichever gender they turn out to be. The gender of the baby can always change when the baby is older, if they chose to be a different one. In Rebecca Kippen's article titled, "High and Growing Disapproval of Sex-Selection Technology in Australia" she states that, "The Australian Health Ethics Committee believes that admission to life should not be conditional upon a child being a particular sex" (2). Parents must love their children unconditionally, without wanting to change them. A family is a family even if it has only boys or only girls as offspring. The ethics of the parents' decisions shows that if they care for their family unconditionally, then the gender of the baby should not make a difference. However, there are people who believe that the sex selection laws should be passed for more than strictly medical reasons.


David McCarthy argues that some people view freedom in reproductive choice and states in his article, "Why Sex Selection should be Legal" that, "This covers the liberty to select the sex of one's children, but it also covers such things as the liberty to decide how many children to have, when to have them, and whether to have any at all. One cannot reasonably reject the claim that this liberty has great value" (306). But on the contrary, the liberty is not within the parents, but is within the unborn child. For medical reasons, is where the compromise lays. Already people have seen the examples of which sex selection may help people. Karen Schiavone states in her article, "Playing the Odds or Playing God? Limiting Parental Ability to Create Disabled Children through Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis" that, "Clinics can use PGD to test for colon cancer, cystic fibrosis, early-onset familial Alzheimer disease, Fanconi anemia, hemophelia, Huntington chorea, Marfan syndrome, muscular dystrophy, polycystic kidney disease, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs disease, as well as for milder conditions, including hereditary deafness" (285).


All these can be discovered as to which embryo will inherit the disease, and unlike the examples in the article, parents can choose to have the embryo without the disease. This use of sex selection is not used to be discriminatory of the child's gender and uses the safety of the child as the main factor. Using safety as a reason to go through with sex selection can save lives of the babies that may have not made it through these diseases. This can also save money for the family on medical bills and can stop the gene from going into future generations all together. Overall, the controversial issue of having sex selection available should be offered only for medical reasons. The procedure creates a controlling environment of the baby's future and discriminatory of genders. It is also very unethical. If parents are going to have a child, they must not deem one gender more admirable than the other. Medically, sex selection may be able to transition out all gene related disease and save many lives. The views that state the belief of sex selection being a violation of the parents' liberty to choose how they want to create their baby, forget the baby itself has a liberty of its own that we need to protect. The solution to this problem is to save lives of babies that can be gender selected based on the chance of life-threatening danger, and to let the other babies' genders be what chance makes it to be.