Sex Selection

Definition - What does Sex Selection mean?

Sex selection refers to the process of using medical technology to select the sex of the fetus. This practice may be done for medical, family balancing, or gender preference reasons. Sex selection is controversial because of the legal, ethical, and social implications associated with it. If there is an increased risk of passing on a genetic disorder to one sex, sex selection may be utilized to reduce this risk. An embryo carrying a genetic disorder may result in a miscarriage

Sex selection is also called gender selection or family balancing.

FertilitySmarts explains Sex Selection

There are many practices that can be used to select the sex of the fetus including, selecting certain embryos for transfer and implantation after in vitro fertilization (IVF), separating specific sperm, and selectively terminating a pregnancy.

The three main reasons for sex selection include: medical, such as preventing the birth of children at risk for or affected by disorders linked to the X chromosome; family balancing, where couples choose to have a child of one sex because their other child or children are of the other sex; or gender preference, due to social, economic, and cultural bias in favor of male children. In some countries, like China and India, gender preference is known to have contributed to a disproportionate number of males to females.

Sex selection for non-medical reasons is controversial. The two main concerns are that it will impact the natural gender balance leading to an unequal gender ratio and it will reinforce sexism and the devaluation of females. In some countries, including Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, sex selection for non-medical reasons is illegal. However, in the United States, sex selection is legal for both medical and non-medical reasons.

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