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Couples wrong to pick sex of babies in trial

Nov. 4, 2005

EDITORIAL STAFF

Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston recently got permission to conduct medical trials that will let couples choose the sex of their baby.

In the procedure, doctors scan embryos at an early stage of development, look at the DNA to determine which are the couple's desired sex, and implant only those in the mother's uterus.

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Ben Humeniuk | Lariat staff
Couples undergoing the trial must have one or more children of the same sex and want a child of the opposite sex to balance out the family.

This method been used in fertility clinics around the world to select healthy embryos and prevent disease. It costs $3,500, on top of the $10,000 to $15,000 in vitro fertilization procedure.

Many countries, including England, have banned the procedure.

When people start selecting the sex of children, they come too close to playing God. Humans can't determine whether they have a boy or a girl for a reason, so giving people a choice now is unnatural.

If people are allowed to choose the sex of their babies, it could lead to people choosing other features of their children based solely on preference. Soon, people could be able to choose what their child looks like and what characteristics the parents want them to have.

Choosing a child's sex for superficial reasons is wrong. There are precious few circumstances in which the procedure would be morally OK.

Maybe a case for it could be made in places like China, which allows each family to have only one child. In Chinese culture, it's especially important for the family name to carry on, so many families want to have a boy.

What happens is that many parents will have ultrasounds to see what sex the baby is, and if it's a girl, they often abort. It's been reported that other families abandon or kill female babies after birth.

Life is a precious. Children are a gift, not a commodity. When people start taking factors like the sex of their baby into their own hands, it demeans pregnancy and childbirth.

Parents need to just love and accept their children, no matter what sex they turn out to be.

Editorial Board vote: 3-2