HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sex Selection in the UK

According to an article in Slate, it appears that the British government is not adverse to tackling some of the tricky questions raised by artificial reproductive technologies.  The article entitled, "Lads or Lasses:  The British Go For Sex Selection" by Emily Bazelon, discusses the decision of the Science and Technology committee of the British Parliament to recommend allowing couples who conceive through in vitro fertilization to screen their embryos for sex. The article states,

The March report by Britain's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee took up the question of sex selection for couples who use IVF. The committee gave some weight to sex selection's troubling ramifications, chiefly demographic. Because of the preference for sons in China and India, the ratio of boys to girls has already been thrown off in those countries, in some places by as much as 140 to 100. Estimates suggest that nearly one in 10 female fetuses is aborted in India for reasons that have nothing to do with the health of the baby or the mother, even though sonograms performed to determine sex have been banned since 1994. "It could be argued that by permitting people to choose the sex of their child in this country we are legitimising the choices among cultures where boys are preferred," the committee report admits. But its authors point out that sex-related abortion and infanticide is already happening abroad, and then punt the whole thing to Parliament for further consideration.

It is an interesting article with links to the final British report. [bm]

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