Babies as desired: Ethical arguments about gender selection

Juma M. Alkaabi, Saad Ghazal-Aswad, Margaret Sagle

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Gender selection for non-medical reasons raises serious moral, legal, social and ethical issues. The desire to preselect the gender of offspring dates from antiquity and is influenced by many factors including economics, culture, religion and personal circumstances. The gender ratio of children can be affected by using techniques such as prefertilization sperm sorting, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and prenatal sex determination. The cheapest and the most widely used method is ultrasound scanning early in pregnancy, which may lead to abortion of the undesired sex. The distortion of the national sex ratio in countries where discrimination against women is common, such as India and China, has resulted in laws and policies to explicitly forbid sex selection. Laws and clinical practice guidelines should be enforced to eradicate sex selection especially in societies where gender selection is apparently sexist. The ethics of legal prohibition warrant urgent attention. The challenge to all societies is to improve women's social, economic, political and cultural status, in order to eliminate discrimination against women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalNew Emirates Medical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Assisted reproductive techniques
  • Gender selection
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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