Hello and welcome to another week, as we hit the back to school run up.
This week’s question is a philosophical one.
Draft guidelines in Australia have recently been published, which ask the public to consider the possibility of allowing parents to choose the gender of their babies during the IVF process. In the past in Australia, gender selection has been allowed but only on medical grounds, such as avoiding gender linked genetic disorders. This exception is much the same in the UK.
Understandably, the question over whether gender selection should be allowed for non medical reasons has caused concern. In this very interesting article on the topic, a researcher at the University of Sidney argues that to allow gender selection is inherently sexist, and would do more harm than good. She suggests that freedom of selection would simply reinforce gender stereotypes, deny diversity and, crucially, ignore the individuality of the child by imposing external stereotypes before they’re even born.
Those who argue in favour of gender selection say it is the right of the parents to decide, to have that freedom of choice and that it could balance gender inequality, where for example a family has a son and would like to have a girl also.
Our question to you then, is just this: is this conundrum at its heart a conflict of interests between the rights of the parent and the rights of the unborn child, or is there no real conflict to speak of, because nature always finds a way of balancing the scales?