Use of reproductive technology for sex selection for nonmedical reasons

Capsule:
This document discusses the use of reproductive technology to select the sex of offspring for nonmedical reasons.

Authors:
Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Volume 103, Issue 6, Pages 1418-1422

Abstract:

Because these practices are ethically controversial, clinics are encouraged to develop and make available their policies on the provision of nonmedical sex selection, and to accommodate their employees’ decisions about whether or not to participate in such treatment. Practitioners offering assisted reproductive services are under no ethical obligation to provide or refuse to provide nonmedically indicated methods of sex selection. This document replaces two documents previously published by the ASRM Ethics Committee, titled, “Sex selection and preimplantation genetic diagnosis” (Fertil Steril 2004;82:S245–8) and “Preconception gender selection for nonmedical reasons” (Fertil Steril 2004;82:S232–5).

  • Allison Storrow

    I read that non-medical sex selection is performed through sperm separation (flow cytometry) and also Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) in which embryos are looked at for aneuploidy and sex chromosomes.

    Today, is flow cytometry still performed in the United States? Some literature states it is illegal due to harm on the sperm. So are we left with just PGD and IVF as nonmedical sex selection?

    What do you think about people travelling to the United States to get this procedure done?

    • ASRM Committees

      The Ethics Committee Opinion discusses two main strategies for pre-pregnancy nonmedical sex selection — sperm sorting through flow cytometry and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). Flow cytometry involves staining sperm with an intercalating fluorescent dye, giving rise to concerns over the potential toxicity of the dye. As set out in the Opinion, the US Food & Drug Administration has not approved sperm sorting through flow cytometry in the United States, thus making it unavailable as a clinical option for patients desiring to select the sex of their offspring using this method. The option of PGS remains available to interested patients without regard to their nationality. ASRM supports the right of each fertility clinic to offer or decline to offer sex selection for nonmedical reasons upon due consideration of the issues outlined in the Ethics Committee Opinion.

      Judith Daar, Chair, ASRM Ethics Committee

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