To say why not use IVF to choose the sex of a baby?

(423 Posts)
Poppycattlepetal Wed 03-Jul-13 06:26:47

If people could save up for the IVF required, just don't see who else's business is it if they have a boy or a girl baby, really?

It seems U that we are not legally allowed to try for this in Britain. Clearly, we'd not all choose boys. See this mother of five sons in the Indy today: www.independent.co.uk/news/science/ban-on-sex-selection-of-ivf-embryos-is-not-justified-says-ethicist-8683940.html

It is allowed in US to do this, and you don't hear of a population imbalance over there. Just what seems like an incannily high proportion of celebrities who have twins, one of each!

I do get the issues about things being very different in other countries where there can be a cultural pressure to have sons of course. And i'm only talking about methods used before pregnancy begins. And obviously this would have to be genuinely freely chosen. Just feel that as the majority in the UK doesn't share any particular preference, why not let the people who do really mind, have the choice?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Jul-13 06:07:48

Not that I would characterise it quite as 'me, me, me, I want', but that is what drives virtually all our behaviour. We do things because we want to. We want to go on holiday, we want to have sex, we want children, we want to help others, we want to keep things for ourselves, we want to know what this or that is like...

It's hardly the most damning of insults to say people want things and act on those yearnings. And it's an odd reason for saying people shouldn't have something. As though curiosity is sinful and the desire to direct one's life is perverted.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 13:51:57

nah still staggered by the idea that it would somehow work to have legislation in place that says if it is in the work place you aren't allowed to discriminate based on gender, race, disability etc. and then if it is in the realm of procreation then yeah fine go ahead, be as discriminatory as you like...

are people also keen on selecting embryos for skin colour etc? Or is this a case where every gets that you don't judge the quality of a person (or embryo) on their skin colour, but secretly think you really can judge the quality of a person on their gender?

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 13:53:18

emme a direct question. Do you believe it is okay for someone hiring a colleague to only consider male applicants because they think they work better with men?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Jul-13 14:08:04

Only in some very restricted instances and I think the harm to society is so pronounced that laws against the practice are justified - even if they can only be partially enforced.

Could you answer a similar question - do you think it should be against the law to reject someone as a friend or lover because of their sex?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Jul-13 14:19:17

While we're at it ICBINEG do you think it's OK to discriminate against someone with a genetic illness or disability in the work place?

MaryKatharine Fri 12-Jul-13 15:19:04

This has nothing to do with sex discrimination whatsoever. Many women want a daughter to feel that bond, that closeness to another female. It's not about valuing women over men, it's about emotions.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 18:35:41

that closeness to another female is far from guaranteed and does not occur in a lot of families. It is to do with the individuals involved and it not solely determined by the X or Y chromosome.

So we come back to the fact that it is discrimination to select based only on one facet of a person that may not at all influence the outcome you desire.

If two people can do the work equally well then it is morally wrong to discriminate on gender, race, disability.

You cannot tell by looking, which of your embryos you would form the closest bond with...or would be most into fashion or would contribute most to your future happiness. To arbitrarily decide the female ones are more likely to provide some attribute or other is sex discrimination pure and simple.

Similarly with skin colour. You can't tell what the person will be like from the skin colour genes.

With disabilities, and particularly extremely life limiting ones, you can tell something very important about the difference in potential quality of life of embryos. IMO that makes screening for severe disability a different thing to screening by gender. After all being male/female isn't either a disease or a disability and does not limit you in your life choices at all.

bebemad Fri 12-Jul-13 18:47:21

You CANNOT select gender through IVF you select gender though PGD.

Cheerymum Fri 12-Jul-13 19:07:43

MaryKatherine has been the only voice on here with a mixed family of boys and girls who has acknowledged that this is something she values - and that parenting boys and girls has some differences, which are to be celebrated.

I dont think there have been any strong arguments against IVF for sex selection. Just either "I don't want/need it" or "it makes me feel icky" therefore it should be banned ... The sexism argument is rubbish because (in the UK at least) there is nothing to suggest on sex would be significantly more often "chosen" than the other, and whilst a few have insisted that parents who would choose it would therefore gender stereotype their kids, fail to value kids of the other sex, or parent poorly in other ways, those are fairly unpleasant, unsubstantiated presumptions.
The fact few people want it doesnt de facto mean they shouldnt be allowed it "just because they want it" and if they are prepared to make an informed choice about it doesn't make them mentally ill FGS.

Emmeline's arguments about the lack of harm caused are persuasive to me. We may yet consider it in our family, or we may decide it isn't worth the risks and hardships, but the lack of strong argument from those against it on here has actually pushed me further towards the liberal position. And I think Buttercat is right, the change in law will probably come.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Fri 12-Jul-13 19:39:55

Finally cherrymum (and buttercat!) - a sensible, well written, balanced post. Thank you.

Unlike icbineg, who keeps on and on with her social policy standpoint about gender discrimination??? WTF - if I have 3 children of one gender and deeply desire a baby of the opposite gender (for emotional reasons that can not be explained "in a list" - I wouldn't make a list about why I love my three very different boys, so why would I write a list about "why" and "how" I would love a daughter?). There is NO discrimination as I would like to have BOTH genders in my family.

None of my three boys would ever feel any less loved or rejected if I had a daughter, because as any mother knows, you love ALL your children very deeply and unconditionally (well I do anyway). If we were lucky enough to have a daughter, my boys would be blessed to have a sister, and that would be all they need to know. NO REJECTION in this hous - it is such an absurd argument.

Of my 60% of friends who parent both boys and girls they ALL say the parenting is different - I find it wierd that on Mumsnet, those mothers seem to find no difference in nurturing their sons/daughters? I simply don't believe you.

And I am yet to meet a mother IRL (young and old) who parents all boys who doesn't express some sadness at not having a daughter. However, no one expresses disappointment in the children that they have already - for the record!

Most IVF users pay privately in this country and I understand that the high cost funds the NHS. For the small minority of women like myself, why not allow PGD and help boost the NHS and ongoing research further?

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 19:55:13

oh I see...so as long as a roughly equal number of people will discriminate against you for being female as will discriminate against you for being male, then no discrimination has taken place?

Do locate a brain cell from somewhere...please.

It is wrong to judge a person based on gender. It is equally wrong to judge the suitability of an embryo for your family based on gender. Children are individuals and will not fit into your designer family no matter what you do.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 19:56:46

anyone who automatically parents a DD different to DS, or expects there will be difference before the baby is born should have been prevented from having kids in the first place.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:00:40

oh and to choc specifically, you have no reason to believe whatsoever that having a girl will fill the perceived hole in your family any more than another DS would. Girls are individuals, boys are individuals. unless you are nappy changing or have an unhealthy fascination with observing the development of specifically female genitalia then there is no difference in a family of individuals that are all male and a family of individuals of different genders.

Gender does not define a child.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Fri 12-Jul-13 20:02:15

But ICNIBEG - you only have one child so you are talking out of your arse...

5madthings Fri 12-Jul-13 20:39:19

What does the amount of children ice has to do with anything.

I have five, four of the same gender. Our family was complete and that was fine and our fifth was a bonus baby who happens to be the opposite gender. It hasnt changed my parenting, it didnt magically make life complete and i never felt like i was missing out when o only had four of the same gender.

It is gender discrimination at its most basic. And it gives the message that gender discrimination is ok.... That is not a message we should be wanting to send out.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:51:52

So because I have only one child I am incapable of reading the literature on this issue?

The vast majority of difference we experience based on gender is nurture not nature. If you don't set out to treat girls and boys differently then they wouldn't be noticeably different at all.

The actual research (you know as opposed to what some random person says about themselves on the internet) shows that there is far more variation between individuals of either sex than there is difference between an average boy and an average girl. Or in other words if your children are different it is mostly because they are individuals, not because of their gender.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:54:55

thanks 5mad, how are you doing by the way? Presumably you are really poor at the moment on account of having to buy a whole new set of toys and clothes as well as redecorating significant portions of your house in a pink fairy theme?

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:57:38

you know sometimes I think I must live in a different world...because I know things that aren't taken from my own personal experience! I read books and papers and hence learn things that other people know. Is this some sort of black magic? Not only that but I am willing to disregard my own personal experience when the weight of scientific evidence indicates that I was wrong in my assumptions.....

Do a lot of people on MN think things can only be true if they personally have witnessed it, and conversely that if they have witnessed something then it must be true?

5madthings Fri 12-Jul-13 21:11:08

Ha ha we already had 'girl' toys and links and purple etc, along with lots of other col ours etc. Dd is happiest in a dinosaur T-shirt, anything to do with dinosaurs and she loves it. Ds3 still loves pink, purple and all things sparkly.

No poorer, still tired and desperate for school holidays to begin, feeling a proud mummy today as the boys got awesome school reports, ds2 rocked his SATs (not that I care about SATs but he is thrilled) and i am debating posting on fb, about how fab my children are, of course that is ntl the done thing according to mnet, like I give a shit! grin

ChocolateBiscuitCake Fri 12-Jul-13 21:11:11

Because she keeps theorising on how to parent more than one child without any clue of how this feels in real life - it is not something that can be theorised about. How on earth does she know that parenting a boy and a girl is exactly the same when she doesn't have a son? You simply can't put yourself in someone else's shoes until you experience it for yourself, especially something that is this emotive and personal. It ignorant and arrogant. It is like me telling someone who has lost a parent that the pain will get better with time - how on earth would I know - thankfully at the moment I wouldn't.
This is not about gender steryotypes - it is something that can't really be explained - but unless you have experienced it you won't and will never understand.

And just remind me, what message are you giving to whom about gender discrimination?? Because I just don't see the "discrimination" - this is not a job interview...

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Jul-13 22:37:02

You didn't answer my questions ICBINEG. Should it be illegal to have a preference when it comes to a lover or friendship? And is it OK to discriminate for a job on the basis of disability?

Cheerymum Sat 13-Jul-13 06:44:23

The point is the only person who could conceivably (no pun intended!) be being discriminated against doesn't actually exist . This is a totally different situation to a job being denied to an existing person who is the best candidate on the basis of gender.

Whothefuckfarted Sat 13-Jul-13 08:23:28

It's a slippery fucking slope. That's why.

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