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Choosing Tomorrow's ChildrenThe Ethics of Selective Reproduction$
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Stephen Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273966.001.0001

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Sex Selection

Sex Selection

Chapter:
(p.209) 8 Sex Selection
Source:
Choosing Tomorrow's Children
Author(s):

Stephen Wilkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273966.003.0008

This chapter addresses the issue of ‘social’ sex selection (sex selection for reasons other than the avoidance of sex-linked disorders). After outlining the legal and regulatory context in the UK, it examines the view that ‘family balancing’ sex selection is morally preferable to other (‘social’) forms and should enjoy a relatively privileged (moral and/or legal) status. It concludes that ‘family balancing’ is not (or need not be) any better than other forms of sex selection. The remaining part of the chapter considers the more fundamental question of whether any form of sex selection is permissible and reviews several further arguments against it. The conclusion ultimately arrived at is complex. It is argued that while sex selection is not intrinsically or necessarily wrong, many actual instances of it are, either because of their negative effects (for example, on population sex ratios) or because they are based on sexist beliefs and attitudes.

Keywords:   family balancing, sex selection, sexist beliefs, sex-linked disorders, population sex ratios

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