Moral attitudes and beliefs among couples pursuing PGD for sex selection

Reprod Biomed Online. 2010 Dec;21(7):838-47. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2010.09.009. Epub 2010 Sep 26.


This article reports the results from a study of couples participating in a research protocol in which IVF/preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) was available for non-medical sex selection. The study sought to characterize the moral attitudes and beliefs of couples actively pursuing IVF/PGD solely for purposes related to sex selection. Eighteen couples participated in ethnographic interviews from November 2005 to April 2006. These interviews explored couples' motivations for pursuing sex selection, moral beliefs and attitudes regarding sex selection and sources of moral ambivalence about the use of IVF/PGD for sex selection. Couples reported a combination of motivations for pursuing sex selection, including a desire to limit family size, concerns about parental age and financial concerns about multiple pregnancies. Many couples compared their decision to choices about abortion, maintaining that individuals have a right to make such decisions privately. Couples frequently expressed anxiety about telling their other children and family members about their plans to use IVF/PGD for sex selection. Few couples cited concerns about the physical or emotional burdens of IVF/PGD. The study's findings suggest that couples pursuing IVF/PGD for sex selection view this as an ethically complex decision and express considerable uncertainty about the ethical acceptability of this practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Confidentiality
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / economics
  • Fertilization in Vitro / ethics
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morals*
  • Motivation
  • Preimplantation Diagnosis* / ethics
  • Preimplantation Diagnosis* / psychology
  • Reproductive Rights / ethics
  • Reproductive Rights / psychology
  • Sex Preselection / ethics*
  • Sex Preselection / psychology*
  • Texas