Nonmedically Indicated Sex Selection

Patients sometimes desire to choose the sex of their child for nonmedical reasons, which may be due to social, economic, religious, cultural, or other personal reasons. For example, parents may want their only or first-born child to be of a certain sex. Or they may already have children of one sex and desire to have children of the opposite sex for family balancing. Surveys indicate that the majority of couples in the United States who seek to choose the sex of their baby want a male child.

Proponents of sex selection argue that if the technology is available, it should be used. They also state that it could decrease population growth because couples often have more children than they actually want because they keep trying for their desired gender baby.

The ASRM ethics committee discourages sex selection of already existing embryos for nonmedical reasons. They do not believe that it is ethically appropriate to destroy and discard embryos for the sole purpose of "family balancing." However, as the technology of MicroSort becomes more refined and available, ASRM believes that sex selection for nonmedical reasons would be more ethically permissible.

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