Ethics of Gender Selection

As with many of the advancements that have occurred in medical science over the last century, the question of gender selection brings with it a certain amount of debate. While most people have no problem with a couple who is hoping to have a child of a certain gender using a variety of natural techniques to increase their chances, there are more concerns with the implications of selecting gender via In Vitro Fertilization or through other genetic means. Gender selection certainly has its pros and its cons.

One of the pros of gender selection is the ability to avoid certain types of inheritable illnesses. This would include certain diseases and illnesses that tend to be transferred from a parent of one gender to a child of the same gender. In this way, gender selection can be used to spare a child a variety of suffering.

Another pro to gender selection is for families who want to have children of each gender. A family may already have a daughter, and hope to have a boy, or vice versa. Certainly, this reasoning is relatively innocuous by itself.

However, on the con side, the argument goes that selecting gender based solely on the preference of the parents leads to a slippery slope. The opponents of gender selection suggest that, in a society that favors men over women, for example, that gender selection would become sexist, and could lead to the oppression of one gender by the other. It would put one gender in a forced minority status, just based on gender selection.

Another con of gender selection is that tinkering with the genetic code of human beings has never proven to be a good thing in human history. Whether it was the horrible experiments of the Nazis or some other tragedy, genetic experimentation and interference has tended to lead to abuses of power. Certainly, having the power to select gender can lead to an abuse of power, in which the state could force individuals to have children of only a certain gender, for example.