Everyday Ethics

This comes to no surprise to those of you who have heard various versions of my emphatic utterances “I’m in no shape to have or raise a baby right now thank ye very much,” but I must say I’m fairly ignorant about the next generation science of babymaking. So I was interested in reading this report on choosing your child’s gender.

Somehow over the years it escaped my notice that picking “boy” or “girl” had become as commonplace (scientifically speaking) as picking chocolate or vanilla. And I certainly did not know that the practice was banned in several countries.

Of course, the technique, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), had a different intended purpose — it’s meant to screen for genetic flaws. Here in the United States, however, one can use PGD to create the perfect family, for a cost (about $18,000).

I may not be ready to have children, but I already know how I feel about using this technique to choose my baby’s gender — I’m pretty firmly against. Conceptually, I suppose I feel my child has a right to a fair chance, even in his/her most basic state. Even starting from the sperm meets egg point. To me, it is more about believing in fate (or perhaps faith).

Ethically, I’m not so sure. I am staunchly pro-choice, and saying I believe it is unethical for a woman to choose the gender of her child yet ethical to choose to terminate that same life makes no logical sense to me. Yet I’m also sure that there are many others in my position who feel a fundamental distaste at this type of genetic manipulation.

What about you? If you had the means to choose the gender of your child, would you?