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Embryo-sex choice is dangerous ground

3 August 2006

Embryo-sex choice is dangerous ground

The NZ Law Foundation study titled Choosing the Genes for Future Children is treading on dangerous grounds when it urges legal changes to allow parents to select the sex of their children through genetic testing of embryos.

"Because of the bans in Europe, if NZ opens the door to this procedure, we face the prospect of medical tourism for designer babies," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.

"It would lead to doctors catering to gender bias that led to female infanticide in India and China.

"The American Society for Reproductive Medicine which supports testing to prevent genetic diseases, still opposes sex selection because it risks reinforcing sexism in society, and diverts medical resources from real medical needs," says Mr McCoskrie.

Dr David Prentice, who serves as a science advisor to several members of Congress in the US and a former advisor on molecular genetics at Indiana University School of Medicine, says that we are seeing a great steepening of the slippery slope. Soon it won't be a matter of just testing for a life-threatening disease; it will be testing for things that wouldn't be considered diseases - just traits.

"When we say that it's better to not exist than be the wrong gender for our family, we are on dangerous ground," says Mr McCoskrie. "Dangerous for the child. Children are not commodities where we decide whether to keep them or discard them.

"Children are a huge privilege - boy or girl."


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