Gender Selection: Current Attitudes
Two trends have stirred a growing interest in gender selection: delayed motherhood and smaller-sized families.
- Delayed child bearing ― Many women now wait until well into their 30s and 40s to begin their families as they pursue educations and careers. Some women who delay their families often need assisted reproductive technology (ART) to conceive because egg quality drops drastically after age 35.
- Reduced family size ― Most societies no longer need large families to tend farms. And since children in industrialized nations rarely die of once-common childhood diseases such as pneumonia and smallpox, couples are having fewer children.
Consequently, with smaller families, many couples want to increase their chances of having children of both genders. Although most folklore sex-selection methods have been debunked, people continue to use them in their quest for boy a boy or girl. Some couples have begun to turn to scientifically proven, high-tech gender selection techniques such as PGD/PGS. And in poorer nations, couples use lower tech, but effective methods such as ultrasounds, and sex-selective abortions. In addition to the ethical dilemmas these raise, late-term abortions are often risky and may compromise the woman’s health.
Many people frown on gender selection, arguing that Nature should remain in charge. But many are beginning to accept the new technologies that enable smaller families to have children of both genders.
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