2011/02: Should parents be able to use IVF to select the sex of their children?

Introduction to the media issue

Video clips at right:
Top: the Sher Institute in Dallas, Texas, USA specialises in IVF gender selection. This news program clip features an interview with a doctor, who explains the techniques, as well as an interview with the mother of a deliberately-selected baby girl.
Lower: As a report on gender selection was being considered by the New Zealand government, a NZ TV reporter asked people on the street what they thought of the ethics of baby sex selection.
More audio and video in the Web links and documents section. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
It is totalitarian for the State to dictate which children parents should have and rear
Julian Savulescu, Ethics Program, Centre for the Study of Health and Society, University of Melbourne

The right to reproductive freedom has never been considered an absolute right
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine

The issue at a glance
On January 8, 2011, it was reported that a Victorian couple were going before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to win the right to select the gender of their next child by IVF treatment.
The couple has three sons and had a daughter who died shortly after birth. They are anxious to give birth to another girl. They have had IVF treatment which resulted in twin boys whom they had aborted.
The Patient Review Panel has recently rejected the couple's bid to choose the sex of their next child using IVF. The couple hopes the Civil and Administrative Tribunal will overturn that decision.
The issue of whether IVF should be used to allow parents to select the gender of their children was raised in the media earlier in 2010 when it was reported that National Health and Medical Research Councils Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research were due for review. These guidelines include a recommendation against the use of IVF technology to permit parents to select the gender of their children for anything other than medical reasons.