The Manipulation of Birth: How the authority puts the case for and against

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THE Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has set out the following arguments in its consultative document.

Sex selection of babies should not be allowed because:

Sex selection would upset the balance of males and females which are produced by nature;

Many who have religious beliefs feel that the determination of sex is divine. Humans should not seek to 'play God';

Sex selection could place undesirable emphasis on the value of either sex;

It is a slippery slope towards selecting children for specific characteristics, such as hair or eye colour;

Buying a selection service could reduce children to consumer goods. A child could be valued for its sex rather than itself.

Selection should be allowed because:

People should be allowed to exercise as much free will over their lives as possible;

If medical science allows a new choice, without harm, people should be able to exercise it;

Throughout history people have sought to reduce their dependence on the environment and upon chance;

Accepting the lottery of natural sex determination cannot be said to be morally superior to exercising choice;

A child who is the 'right' sex would be greatly loved and valued.

Sex Selection; Public Consultation Document; Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Paxton House, 30 Artillery Lane, London SE1 7LS; free.