A boy or a girl – who should decide?

Some parents-to-be are desperate to decide the sex of their new baby. Under current UK law this is not allowed, except in order to avoid gender-linked diseases, such as haemophilia and muscular dystrophy. In this week’s Scrubbing Up bioethicist Stephen Wilkinson argues that it’s time for the law to change.
For millennia, people have sought to influence the gender of their offspring and there are numerous folk myths about, for example, the effect of different sexual positions or foods on your baby’s sex.

Nowadays there are some much more reliable methods, like preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). This involves creating several embryos outside the body and implanting only male or female ones. Another option is sperm sorting, which involves dividing a sperm sample into ‘male’ and ‘female’ subgroups

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