The choice of gender: is elective gender selection, indeed, sexist?
Authors: Gleicher, Norbert; Barad, David H.
Source: Human Reproduction, Volume 22, Number 11, 12 November 2007 , pp. 3038-3041(4)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Like a number of international organizations before them, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently issued an ethics opinion, which condemned all indications of elective gender selection as devaluatory to women and sexist and, therefore, given the choice, assumed automatic preference for male gender selection in all populations. This study intended to investigate this notion for accuracy.
We investigated the desired gender in 92 couples who had undergone between January 2004 and December 2006 first in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles in attempts at gender selection for family balancing purposes. Their choices were then also investigated stratified for the ethnicity of the couple.
Among 92 cycles, 36 cycles were selected for female and 56 for male (P 0.037). An analysis based on the couples' ethnicities revealed, however, considerable differences in gender selection patterns. Especially Chinese (21 out of 22), Arab/Muslim (5 out of 6) and Asian-Indian (5 out of 5) couples primarily selected for males. Other ethnicities, however, actually preferentially selected for female gender (34 female, 25 male selections in 59 cycles). Gender choices thus varied in a statistically significant way between ethnicities (P < 0.001).
In an ethnically mixed patient population, elective gender selection for family balancing purposes in most ethnic groups does not represent a discriminatory procedure against female equality. However, cultural biases against females are, indeed, still maintained in some minority populations. Ethics opinions should be considerate of minority opinions, but should be based on prevalent sentiments in a majority of the population.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 12 November 2007
- Human Reproduction features full-length, peer-reviewed papers reporting original research, clinical case histories, as well as opinions and debates on topical issues. Papers published cover the scientific and medical aspects of reproductive physiology and pathology, endocrinology, andrology, gonad function, gametogenesis, fertilization, embryo development, implantation, pregnancy, genetics, genetic diagnosis, oncology, infectious disease, surgery, contraception, infertility treatment, psychology, ethics and social issues. The highest scientific and editorial standard is maintained throughout the journal along with a rapid rate of publication.