Is Sex Selection Ethical?

Medical tourism is not a new idea, but the concept seems to be taking on new meanings all the time. Five couples from Scotland, for instance, journeyed to the United States over the past year so they could have an £13,000 IVF procedure with a difference: they got to choose the sex of the transferred embryos. This fact has been revealed by Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg whose clinics in Los Angeles and New York have been doing a brisk business with patients coming from abroad. Scotland and several other countries ban the process of sex selection except in rare cases for medical reasons.

Dr. Steinberg is one of the earliest and one of the few to offer pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to couples desperate to have a child of the "right" gender. Couples who aren't even infertile are taking advantage of this process plus IVF to balance out what nature didn't provide: the correct balance of boys and girls ala their dreams come true. Steinberg believes this trend, which has just started, is going to be big—really, really big.

Playing God? 

Not only that, but Steinberg also claims that in the near future, not only will parents be able to choose their children's gender but they will also be able to choose the color of their hair and eyes. Steinberg defends his controversial ideas by saying that those in his field don't view designer babies in the same way that they view designer clothing. He says that this isn't about playing God but learning about God's creations. The specialists don't create boys or girls: that work is done by the couples themselves.

Fertility Institutes, the creation of Dr. Steinberg, have the largest sex selection program in the world. The staff takes care of every need of the couples who sign up for this service. The amenities include a payment plan, travel agent, list of area restaurants and hotels—and oh yeah—a babysitting service is also provided upon request.

Different Story

Steinberg says he has around 100 British couples come to him each year so they can select their babies' sex. Up to 70% of his patients come from outside of the U.S. The sex selection expert says he receives the same number of requests for boys as for girls from clients in the UK, but in other countries, the story is very different.

Asian clients want boys; Canadian couples want females; while the Brits are divided 50/50. Steinberg says that when a woman is the one to make the appointment, it's almost always for a girl baby, and when a guy makes the call, he just about always wants a little boy.

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