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“You Get the Baby You Need”: Negotiating the Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology for Social Sex Selection in Online Discussion Forums

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As a result of developments in assisted reproductive technology (ART), it is now possible to choose the sex of a baby. However, the procedures are currently not allowed for this purpose in Australia. This article explores how the positions for and against the use of ART for social sex selection are constructed by parents and parents-to-be in online discussion forums. Critical Discourse Analysis is employed to identify the arguments, evidence and experience drawn upon in the negotiation of the topic. We identify an important distinction between the legitimacy of using ART procedures for social sex selection, and the appropriateness of individuals actually wanting to use the procedures. We further show that expectations about the parent/child relationship, the nature of parental love and implications for society are mobilized in the debate, much of which is underscored by traditional gender constructions.
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Keywords: assisted reproductive technology; critical discourse analysis; gender; online data; parenting; social sex selection

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia

Publication date: July 3, 2015

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