Is a Fertility Clinic's 'Gender Selection' Ad Really So Bad if the Result is Fewer Abortions?

The Washington Centre for Reproductive Medicine

The ad that was published in the Indo-Canadian Voice paper

Some couples might choose to attempt to select the sex of their unborn baby if, for example, they know that a boy born to them will be predisposed to a deadly genetic disease.

However, in some cultures, giving birth to girls is simply much less desirable than boys for financial reasons, so sex-selection is desirable as a way to ensure a male baby.

There are those who think the latter practice is highly unethical and utterly reprehensible, and there are places where sex-selection is just plain illegal, like in Canada.

Despite that fact, the Washington Center for Reproductive Medicine near Seattle recently placed an advertisement for “pre-conception gender determination” services in a Canadian newspaper.

“Create the family you want,” the ad promises. In this case, that pointedly means opting out of having a girl.

The ad ran in the Indo-Canadian Voice newspaper, which is based in Surrey, British Columbia, according to Q13Fox.com.

The Indo-Canadian community is among the cultures that covets boys over girls, says Raminder Dosanjh of the India Mahila Association, who spoke to CTV News.

The Washington Centre for Reproductive Medicine’s website “virtually” guarantees “successful gender selection” through an in vitro fertilization process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis.

The ads, which feature an ethnic looking boy and a girl in an Indian dress, have since been pulled, but the paper’s general manager said he wouldn’t rule out running them in the future.

A report out earlier this week from the Canadian Medical Association Journal says that South Korean- and Indian-born women in Canada are quite possibly aborting girl babies at a high rate, as both groups are disproportionately giving birth to boys as second babies.

As much as some people actually have a preference for giving birth to one sex over the other (present company included), so many (in Western cultures, anyway) can’t fathom aborting a fetus based on sex, particularly when that preference stems from financial concerns, like dowries.

However, as unethical (and, in Canada, illegal) as “family balancing” sounds, if some cultures are determined to birth more boys than girls — to the extent that some are having gender reassignment surgery performed on their newborn girls — is sex-selection by in vitro possibly a better choice if the result is fewer abortions? In India alone, between 4 million and 12 million pregnancies with girls are believed to have terminated over the past 30 years. Until there’s a time when certain cultures stop devaluing the life of girls (if that’s even possible), wouldn’t it be nice to know that fewer girl fetuses are being aborted?

Is it possible there’s a lesser of two evils when it comes to sex and gender preference?

Is the “family balancing” that this Seattle-area clinic offers as horrible as it seems if the result might mean fewer abortions?

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