Selecting sperm by sex

But are accuracy and safety the only relevant issues at stake? Is this an acceptable option? Unless they are seeking to circumvent the threat of a sex-linked disease, those who go down the path of sex selection will embark upon a slippery slope towards ever more parental demands for a child of a particular type. It must be stated here that there is an important difference between sex selection for so-called "social reasons" and sex selection in order to avoid a serious sex-linked disease, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But when the child is not so seen and treated, but is treated as a product to be manufactured according to human design and desire, its human dignity is denied and its welcome less certain. But what about sex selection by means of "sperm sorting"?

Selecting sperm by sex


It must be stated here that there is an important difference between sex selection for so-called "social reasons" and sex selection in order to avoid a serious sex-linked disease, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Such a slippery slope will render one generation the masters of the next. With regard to such a situation, we are not speaking about an arbitrary choice made merely to satisfy a subjective preference for a boy or a girl. It involves a failure to accept the child-to-be as a gift. What is involved, rather, is the separation of male sperm from female sperm. For this reason, sex selection by sperm-sorting followed by IVF or artificial insemination by husband AIH would be morally acceptable from the point of view of most Christians although the Roman Catholic Church would still object to it inasmuch as it objects to AIH and IVF, and Evangelical Christians would likely require that the IVF not result in the destruction of "surplus" embryos. Is this an acceptable option? But what about sex selection by means of "sperm sorting"? Reproductive Ethics Editor's note: But when the child is not so seen and treated, but is treated as a product to be manufactured according to human design and desire, its human dignity is denied and its welcome less certain. The process involves adding a fluorescent dye to the sperm which enables sperm-sorting, since "girl sperm" carry more DNA than "boy sperm. However, according to Dr Susan Black from the Fairfax Institute, the percentage of defects among children produced by the procedure is not in excess of the normal. But are accuracy and safety the only relevant issues at stake? Initially developed to sort bull sperm, the technique also seems to be safe, though there is some worry that the fluorescent dye added to the sperm which attaches itself to the sperm's DNA might cause damage. Sex selection for "social reasons," however, involves eugenic discrimination even if it involves no loss of human life. Unless they are seeking to circumvent the threat of a sex-linked disease, those who go down the path of sex selection will embark upon a slippery slope towards ever more parental demands for a child of a particular type. While this aspect of the technology is commendable, its morality depends on the purpose for which it is employed. In the case of sex selection by sperm-sorting to avoid a serious disease, the couple avoids the creation of an abnormal embryo and they do so in a manner that does not involve the loss of human life unlike sex selection by pre-implantation diagnosis. It does not involve killing as do sex selection and infanticide by means of pre-implantation diagnosis and selective abortion. This is the most important objection to sex selection, even if there are other more consequentialist considerations as well such as the fear that sex selection would lead to an imbalance between the sexes and possibly to increased gender stereotyping. She is no doubt referring to children created by in vitro fertilization, since IVF involves risks of its own. For, seen as a gift--a gift from God--the child will be unconditionally welcomed and accepted as a member of the human family, possessing the same inherent dignity as the rest of us. This, then, is a technique for separating sperm carrying a Y chromosome which would create a male embryo from sperm carrying an X chromosome which would create a female embryo.

Selecting sperm by sex

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IVF and Sex Selection





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3 Comments on “Selecting sperm by sex”

  1. While this aspect of the technology is commendable, its morality depends on the purpose for which it is employed.

  2. Initially developed to sort bull sperm, the technique also seems to be safe, though there is some worry that the fluorescent dye added to the sperm which attaches itself to the sperm's DNA might cause damage. What is involved, rather, is the separation of male sperm from female sperm.

  3. This is the most important objection to sex selection, even if there are other more consequentialist considerations as well such as the fear that sex selection would lead to an imbalance between the sexes and possibly to increased gender stereotyping.

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