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Why is there Opposition to Gender Selection?

Posted Dec 31 2012 12:00am
First of all, thank you for all the positive responses I received regarding the  unexplained infertility post I wrote last week. It is such an interesting area of infertility medicine. It seems almost unbelievable that this common diagnosis for infertility (30%) is actually, more often than not, misdiagnosed.
I was looking at some TED talks regarding health the other day. I came across  this talk by Gregory Stock (Director of Department of Science and Technology at UCLA). He was giving a talk on the use of technology in health care, and how there is so much opposition to development of research in this area. He bought up the fact that so many people are against developments in stem cell research and gender selection , and in general, against human’s manipulation of biology.

His outlook was basically, that these technologies will benefit man kind and help decrease the incidence of disease in our society.  He wants humans to embrace these technologies instead of shunning them. In ways, he sees these developments as part of our natural evolution as a species.

Although I find it difficult to agree with all the points he made (human’s living to 100 years  in the 23rd century, how will the poor plant survive?) Surrounding the issues of gender selection and stem cell related technology, I understand his point of view clearly.

As a nurse I have seen babies being born with some difficult disorders. Some of these disorders have been genetic diseases linked to sex, such as hemophilia and muscular dystrophy. These sex linked genetic diseases can be prevented by a process used pre-IVF to select the gender of the embryo.

One of the most successful and safe techniques  to carry out gender selection was pioneered by The Center for Human Reproduction, New York City.

This technique combines IVF and PGD (Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis). The cell is analyzed pre- IVF implantation for its chromosomal makeup, which indicates the embryo's sex. Only the desired sex is implanted into the uterus.

This technique of gender selection has many benefits:
-transmission of known sex related diseases can be prevented.
-this treatment has almost 100% accuracy.
-no damage is done to the embryo during the process.

Since we have this technology at our finger tips to help relieve the suffering of future generations, it is difficult to understand why there is so much opposition to research and treatment for genetic linked sex diseases.  
I think if people who oppose these technologies were carriers of genetic linked sex diseases, and carried a risk of transmitting them to their child, they might reconsider their opinion.

Hopefully this research and treatment will continue to develop, to better the health of our future generations. 
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