Sex selection: treating different cases differently

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2005 Aug;90(2):171-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2005.05.001.


This paper contrasts ethical approaches to sex selection in countries where discrimination against women is pervasive, resulting in selection against girl children, and in countries where there is less general discrimination and couples do not prefer children of either sex. National sex ratio imbalances where discrimination against women is common have resulted in laws and policies, such as in India and China, to deter and prevent sex selection. Birth ratios of children can be affected by techniques of prenatal sex determination and abortion, preconception sex selection and discarding disfavored embryos, and prefertilization sperm sorting, when disfavored sperm remain unused. Incentives for son preference are reviewed, and laws and policies to prevent sex selection are explained. The elimination of social, economic and other discrimination against women is urged to redress sex selection against girl children. Where there is no general selection against girl children, sex selection can be allowed to assist families that want children of both sexes.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Sex Preselection*
  • Social Values