IVF Parents Pick Sex, Alter Balance Of Nature

Should parents undergoing fertility treatments like IVF have the right to choose the sex of the baby? Lawmakers in Britain have split over this issue, reigniting the debate over "designer babies".

Couples should be able to decide the gender of the embryo being implanted, parliament's cross-party Science and Technology Committee said in a report published Thursday. But half of the committee's 11 members rejected the findings as "unbalanced and light on ethics".

"The use and destruction of embryos does raise ethical issues and there are grounds for caution," the report concluded, but added: "On balance we find no adequate justification for prohibiting the use of sex selection for family balancing."

Critics of this policy are concerned that this would turn babies into "consumer items" - and make "designer babies" possible, with user-specifiable hair color, eye color and so forth. "Family balancing" refers to couples who have three girls already, and would like a boy (for example). Under current law, sex selection is allowed if there is a risk of gender-linked disease such as muscular dystrophy or hemophilia.

Science fiction authors have discussed possible futures in which sex selection of offspring is allowed. James Blish's And All the Stars a Stage, published in 1971, predicts that the end result of such technology is a matriarchy, as men become a glut on the market upon the introduction of Selektrogel:

Being a man, Jom was inclined to think that the real death blow had been struck by the release of Selektrojel to the populace as an over-the-counteror non-prescription item. Possibly if its use bad been restricted to couples psychiatrically certified to need a baby of a given sex -- like, say, a couple to whom unaided nature had given only a string of five daughters, or, no, better make it nine ... But that would not have worked either. The demand for the stuff had been far too great. Like alcohol, the trade in it could be regulated more or less effectively but it could never be restricted in any meaningful sense.
(Read more about Selektrogel)

For those who think that this is just more of that crazy science fiction stuff, consider the following facts about China:

For every 100 girls born in China, about 16 more new-born boys came into the world, according to national census statistics in 2000. In other countries, usually only five to seven more boys are born.

The result? Boys under the age of ten outnumber girls by millions.

Read more about IVF parents should choose baby's sex and Gender Imbalance Becomes Serious Problem in China. Thanks to Winchell Chung for providing the tip (and the quote) for this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/25/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1929.

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...' - Larry Niven, 1968.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.'

Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.'

'Young Razorbacks Before Their Katanas Grow In'
'Twin robotic arms with gleaming three-foot sword blades unfolded from the forward hydraulic assemblies...'

A New Way To Run Into Things
'He made an adjustment, pointed the tube at the wall beside Etzwane, and projected a cone of light.'

'Metallic Wood' Strong Like Titanium, Floats In Water
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...'

Seabreacher, H.G. Winter's 1939 Torpoon
'Ken lay full-length in the padded body compartment, his feet resting on the controlling bars of the directional planes, hands on the torpoon's engine levers.'

Abundant Robotics Autonomous Apple Harvester Robot
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant... cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Charging An Electric Car In 2019 (Video), 1912 (Photo) And 1894 (Fiction)
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

Japan Uses Explosives On Asteroid
'...a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk. It hit, exploding into a cloud of incandescent vapour.'

Get Your Speeder Flying Motorcycle From Jetpack Aviation
'The flycycles were miracles of compact design.'

FLIR Black Hornet 3 Palm-sized Drone
These drones can provide situational awareness beyond visual line-of-sight capability.

Dockworkers Protest Driverless Trucks
'It resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

Flying Car Concept By Kash Sirinanda
'Each one consists of a hub with many tiny spokes... On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom...'

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.