More Couples Choosing the Gender of Their Children through In Vitro Fertilization

Veronica Neffinger | iBelieve Contributor | Monday, February 29, 2016

More Couples Choosing the Gender of Their Children through In Vitro Fertilization

More and more couples are choosing the sex of their children which leads some to believe bioethical issues could be at stake.

CNN reports that with the rise in popularity of in vitro fertilization in which a woman’s eggs are fertilized in a Petri dish and allowed to grow for a few days before a doctor then implants one (or more) of the embryos into the woman’s body, more couples are choosing whether they want a boy or a girl.

Celebrity couple Chrissy Teigen and her husband John Legend chose the gender of their in vitro baby--a girl--who is due this spring. 

Newer in vitro procedures now offer a screening step which allows couples to choose the gender of their child if they wish to. In 2013, six percent of in vitro fertilization procedures involved screening, which also evaluated the embryos for possible diseases and helps doctors choose the embryos which are most viable to implant. This screening process also reveals the gender of the child.

Although more are embracing IVF and this screening process, some warn that the ethical concerns pose a risk.

Some have suggested that being able to choose the gender of children gives parents too much control over the process of having children and that this choice could lead to discrimination and unbalanced preference for one sex or the other.

“Sex selection kind of undermines the concept of unconditional love and obligation by making the love conditional upon the child being a certain thing, in this case, a boy or a girl," stated Brendan Foht, the assistant editor of The New Atlantic, a journal that publishes articles on bioethical issues.

However, some experts don’t believe that being able to choose a child’s sex poses any real danger.

"Let's face it, there is discrimination against women, but I don't sense in the practice of assisted reproductive technology, at least in my experience, there is an overwhelming bias" toward one sex or the other, said Mark Sauer, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Columbia University Medical Center.

Publication date: February 29, 2016