, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 61-68

Sex Selection, Child Welfare and Risk: A Critique of the HFEA's Recommendations on Sex Selection

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Abstract

This paper will examine the recent Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority public consultation on sex selection. It will review the current regulation on sex selection in the United Kingdom and critically examine the outcomes of the HFEA consultation. The paper will argue that the current ban on embryo sex selection for social reasons and a proposed ban on sperm selection are not justified. There is no evidence for sex selection causing an increase in sex discrimination; creating a slippery slope towards selection for other non-disease characteristics; or promoting a consumerist attitude towards children. The HFEA recommendations to prohibit social sex selection techniques rely upon an unwarranted concern about the risk of the procedures used. Reproductive technologies should be made available to people unless a substantial risk of harm—to the child, the parents or to society—can be identified. There is no such evidence of harm in this case.