Friday, January 30, 2009

Do you agree with Gender Selection?

FROM CNN: The question is asked of almost every expecting parent, "do you want a boy or a girl"? Thanks to the miracle of modern science, a growing number of parents now have the ability to choose their child's gender.But should they?

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg is a fertility specialist--- who has developed a niche. He allows couples to choose the sex of their child. Simon: how many of them want boys? and how many want girls? Steinberg: it's an interesting question and it really turns out to be 50-50.

Dr. Steinberg advertises to an international audience and indeed patients come from all over. Business is up literally 80 fold from seven years ago. Steinberg says his Asian clients overwhelmingly favor boys because of cultural pressures. Canadians favor girls, but he doesn't know why. He says his American patients mainly come for "family balancing." "I come from a family of four girls, so I thought it would be nice to have a son,"said Bob Harrison. Bob and Mindy Harrison of Utah had four daughters, but felt like their family wasn't complete. "I love playing with dolls but sometime trucks are fun too. So they went through an invitro fertilization procedure at Dr. Steinberg's office.

This is the lab in where the eggs are fertilized.Once you have viable embryo, a single cell is extracted and looked at a high powered fluorescent microscope to see if the embryo is a male or a female. Gender selection is considered controversial. Most countries have banned it. One of the fears is that it could manipulate the ratio of boys to girls. Though it's legal in the united states, the country's leading fertility organization discourages it. Some religious groups don't like doctors interfering with what they consider "God's plan."

Other critics worry about the future. "Designing babies based on societal preferences. We could be opening the door to a society where there are new kinds of inequality and new kinds of discrimination. A world that we really would not want to live in."

"I guess we don't see any issues with it. We feel that as technology advances we can take advantage to enhance our lives and lives of others,it's a good thing. A good thing because Mindy and Bob now have their boys, twins Trevor and Tristan are now eight months old. "If we hadn't gone through this procedure, these two little boys wouldn't be here.

Dr. Steinberg says the technology is happening so fast that in addition to choosing things like hair and eye color parents will one day be able to choose babies that are healthier taller, more athletic. And he has absolutely no qualms of giving those parents exactly what they want.

I probably shouldn't share my thoughts on this one because it is so controversial. The one thing I can say is I have several friends who did in vitro due to infertility. It is expensive. I am surprised people would pay those fees for gender selection.

What are your thoughts about gender selection?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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