Sex Selection Medical Tourism


Couples from around the world are coming to U.S. fertility clinics to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to select the sex of their children, according to an article by the Associated Press. Why? Because sex selection is banned in most countries. The article notes:

The Chinese want boys, and the Canadians want girls. If they have enough money, they come to the United States to choose the sex of their babies. Well-fff foreign couples are getting around laws banning sex selection in their home countries by coming to American soil–where it's legal–for medical procedures that can give them the boy, or girl, they want.

"Some people spend $50,000 to $70,000 for a BMW car and think nothing of it, but this is a life that's going to be with us forever," said Robert, an Australian who asked that his last name not be used to protect the family's privacy.

He and his wife, Joanna, have two boys. Now they want a girl. Australia only allows gender selection of embryos to avoid an inherited disease.

The United States' lack of regulation means a growing global market for a few fertility clinics. These businesses advertise in airline magazines or post Web sites aimed at luring clients worldwide.

Naturally, some bioethical busybodies want to ban it here too. But why should the government interfere with parents choosing the sex of their children?

Bioethicist Julian Savulescu is right when he declares, "The Nazis sought to interfere directly in people's reproductive decisions (by forcing them to be sterilized) to promote social ideals, particularly around racial superiority. Not offering selection for nondisease genes would indirectly interfere (by denying choice) to promote social ideals such as equality or 'population welfare.' There is no relevant difference between direct and indirect eugenics. The lesson we learned from eugenics is that society should be loath to interfere (directly and indirectly) in reproductive decisionmaking."

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  1. Gee, the SCOTUS backs no-knock warrants, and nary a peep from you guys? C’mon, it’s not Friday *yet!*

  2. The Chinese want boys, and the Canadians want girls.

    Call me crazy, but I think see the seeds of a solution here.

  3. “Gee, the SCOTUS backs no-knock warrants, and nary a peep from you guys? C’mon, it’s not Friday *yet!*”

    Don’t you feel like a retard now?

  4. I’m guessing the “bioethical busibodies” are more concerned about destroying the embryos of the wrong gender, than they are about people choosing the sex of their offspring.

  5. Going to be a lot of lonely guys in China. Sounds bullish for Cisco and the like. Going to take a lot of infrastructure to deliver all the one hand material they’re going to need. Nasdaq 5000?

  6. mcbarnicle,

    Not really. I just got through with lunch, and besides I prefer food.

  7. Ron, why did you have to break Godwin’s Law just to make the simple point that you believe parents have the right to choose? I disagree with prohibiting choice over gender, but the prohibition is not “eugenics.” It’s anti-eugenics–i.e., insisting that nature rather than humans be left in charge. And nature had a wonderful way of generating about 50% of each gender. Those of us on the side of choice have to acknowledge that choice could generate some problems. Calling the other side Nazis is really not helpful.

  8. lots of chineese boys are going to want to visit Canada. hell, I might want to visit Canada in 19 years or whatever.

  9. Godwin’s Law cannot be broken. It can only be invoked.

  10. JBD: I’m also a bit leery of allowing gender selection to throw the natural 50/50 ratio too far out of balance. Let’s not forget that a traditional way of getting rid of excess males is to start wars, so a China with lots of excess males on top of their fragile economic/political system is a legitimate worry.

    However, there should be libertarian solutions that could work, at least within individual countries. E.g., require these clinics to match each couple that chooses a boy with a couple (at their clinic or any other) that chooses a girl. If there are too many who want boys over girls or vice versa, then a monetary payment from those who want the popular gender to the other might well be all that’s needed to keep things in balance.

  11. Let’s not forget that it costs upwards of $20,000 for this procedure. It isn’t going to effect any male/female ratios, because of the small scale.

  12. Sure, China has excess males as a whole, but the families don’t. Each of these men is the only grandson of 4 people. Don’t expect the same outcome as a house full of boys in Medieval Europe.

    The procedure costs $15-$20k and has a success rate near 50%. The primary problem will always be one of tossing little girls down the well.

  13. Julian Savulescu

    jesus christ an Bioethicist i agree with!?!?! I am going to stay up all night just to make sure the sun rises tommarow

  14. Calling the other side Nazis is really not helpful.

    it is when they are and everyone needs to know it

  15. the Canadians want girls

    I knew teen-porn was big business in Canada, but had no idea it comprised such a large chunk of their GNP.

  16. Maybe they could make the gender identification available only in Sout’ Dakoter and the cell cluster would then be a Sout’ Dakoteran and be all protected an shit.

    Oh, Ron didn’t say anything about Nazi’s, that was a quote from the bioethicist, who may be kicked out of the “club” for thinking independently.

  17. Incorrect, Eddy. Ron said that the biothecist was “right” to make the Nazi analogy and then quoted the analogy, so he endorsed it as if it were his own and thus, under Godwin’s Law, automatically lost the argument.

  18. The procedure costs $15-$20k and has a success rate near 50%.

    I can promise that success rate for just $10k! Ask me how

  19. Gee, the SCOTUS backs no-knock warrants, and nary a peep from you guys? C’mon, it’s not Friday *yet!*

    Hey, I’ve been waiting for them to cover the Daryl-Hannah-sittin’-in-a-tree story. The land in question was seized by eminent domain in the ’80’s for a trash incinerator plan that never came to pass, and the owner finally was able to buy it back in 2003. I had to find this out via Defamer, for chrissakes. Reason is getting lazy.

  20. I would think that bioethicists concerned about eugenics would applaud this possibility for parents wanting to select the sex of their child, since the only other means of achieving this aim is selective abortion of (almost invariably) female fetuses. with the advent of cheap ultrasound and available abortion, the sex ratios in some northern indian states is approaching 90 female infants for every 100 males, a vast disparity compared to the slight advantage nature gives to the female. since I am a feminist who believes women ought to be able to get abortions if they want to, I can hardly fault them for doing so for sex-selective reasons, even though in this case it is a symptom of an almost dysfunctionally patriarchal society, in which crippling dowries and the fact that daughters change their allegiance entirely to their in-laws (wrt caring for the old, etc.) combine to make female infants unwanted. at least it’s better than infacticide! still seems something of a true tragedy of the commons: it’s in everyone’s interest that there be roughly the same number of 18-year old boys and girls, but for each given family, it is rational to have only boy children. I can’t see any solution that wouldn’t be heavy-handed, liberty-restricting, and widely subverted. I think the elimination of dowry and education in the wonders of female equality would be the best they could do but that’s 1. unlikely and 2. would take a while.

  21. “…at least it’s better than infacticide!”

    The idea that abortion is morally preferable to infanticde is a rationalization stemming from the willful ignorance of the pro-abortionist. They both involve the premeditated destruction of an innocent human life. They are both horrors. Anything else is self deception.

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