Gender selection, which is also termed as family balancing is a medical attempt to control the sex or gender of the unborn child depending upon the parental concern. The process can be conducted either by natural method followed with selective embryo screening or genetic diagnosis prior to implantation during the process of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). However, gender selection has ethical controversy. Nowadays, there are several processes available to fulfill the dreams of the parents who want to select the gender of their unborn child.
It is quite common that couples attempt to influence the child’s gender by adjusting the timing of intercourse for conception. Theoretically, it can be possible by conceiving prior of ovulation for the girl child, whereas conceiving during or immediately after completion of ovulation increase the chance of boy child. Some biological connections try to link up this relation, but reproductive experts do not confirm this theory, as they believe multiple variables have significance to alter this possibility and either of gender can be born.
Selection from Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
Discovery of IVF gives the opportunity to prospective parents for gender selection in are the realistic way. Most of the fertility clinics perform PGD for detection of genetically disordered embryos or other congenital health-related issues before implanting the embryo to the mother’s womb. This diagnosis increases the scope of a healthy gestational period and healthy childbirth. But, PGD can also be applied for gender selection as it can identify the sex of the embryos. Therefore, reproductive experts can provide the opportunity to the prospective parents to select their child’s gender during the fertility treatment.
Sorting of sperm
Chromosomal structure of the sperm is the sex determinant of the unborn child. In sperm sorting technique, X-chromosome sperm and Y-chromosome sperm are separated out. Depending upon the preference of prospective parents, mother womb is fertilized with the specific chromosome containing sperm. However, this process is often used to prevent X-chromosome related genetic disorder and selection of lower-risk gender. This increases the possibilities of giving birth to a healthy baby.
Ethical concerns of the gender selection process
The advocates or the supporters of gender selection considers this as a reproductive medical advancement technology. According to their opinion, this is completely parent’s decision to opt this technology for balancing their family. But opponents disagree with this technological opportunity of gender selection and consider this as ethically immoral. However, they do not have any objection about the application of PGD or other chromosomal selection methods to avoid genetically disordered childbirth, but not for gender selection of unborn baby. They believe, the promotion of gender selection can be a trouble for balancing the gender in the world population and become an alarming situation for the whole of mankind. Some also believe that gender selection can increase the scope of gender discrimination which will lead to an increase in the population of the same gender.
The decision of prospective parents must be ultimate for gender selection and therefore, they should decide if they will opt this technological advancement or not.
Ravi Sharma is the director at ARTbaby Global (ARThealthcare). And a successful pharmacist and a marketer. He loves to write about IVF, Surrogacy and other ART (assisted reproductive technology) news, issues, and updates. He is a Pharmacy graduate and M.B.A (marketing).