Why Sex Selection Should Be Legal

Why Sex Selection Should Be Legal






Sex selection

Why sex selection should be legal is an article written by David McCarthy. The publisher is Journal of Medical Ethics and it was published in the year 2001. It extensively explains sex selection, and gives reasons as to why it should be legalized. Sex selection is the attempt to control the gender of ones offspring due to preference of the parents. Recent studies prove that the sex selection preference of boys and girls tend to be equal in western countries whereas in the eastern countries boys are still more preferred. There are different techniques used in sex selection which maybe pre-conceptual or termination of a pregnancy. In pre-implantation method, the IVF or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis technique applies where the basis is on the ability to render the second chromosome X (female) or Y (male) by separation of the male and female sperm. This method increases the chance of getting a girl by 50% to 85% and that of a boy by 50% to 65% (McCarthy, 2001, pg 302).

The issue of sex selection mostly gets controversy in relation to its morality. Currently, medically assisted sex selection is illegal for non-medical reasons purposes in Canada, the U. K, and two states of Australia (Egendorf, 2008). Either side of the disagreeing parties should evaluate assessment of the consequences of imposing a certain law in order to put across laws that are free of bias and is acceptable. These laws should permit freedom of expression of opinion but in a restrictive manner in order to maintain order. They should allow one to have the freedom to control a major part of their lives without abusing that right (McCarthy, 2001, pg 303). The only way to ensure sex selection without abortion is pre-implantation genetic diagnosis that is an invasive method yet women still go through with it indicating the level of importance of sex selection to them.

Freedom has its limits, for example, one cannot have a child without the consent of the partner, and another limit is that it should not bring harm to the others or the person themselves nor should it bring about increase in social costs. In this case selecting sex does not interfere with others liberties. Selective sex should ensure the safety of both the mother and child. The benefits ought to be greater than the risks. Another factor to consider is the cost of sex selection activities in health care facilities though there are other costlier activities in health care facilities that still receive funding. The successful cases far outweigh the risk cases hence there is no legal justification to make sex selection illegal.

One major concern as to sex selection is change in the sex ratio where many fear that the ratio of male children will rise significantly higher to that of female with men having to compete more for the fewer female gender hence this becomes advantageous as the value of the women available goes higher (Hvistendahl, 2011). Another case is the resource cost where even if it is legalized the costs are privately met hence making it only accessible by the elite. This may help in controlling the rate at which sex ratio changes.


Egendorf, L. K., (2008). Should parents be allowed to choose the gender of their children? Detroit: green haven press. Print

Hvistendahl, M., (2011). Unnatural selection: choosing boys over girls, and the consequences of a world full of men. New York: public affairs. Print

McCarthy, D., (2001). Journal of medical ethics: Why sex selection should be legal. Print