Many people who want a child have a preference for a boy or a girl. That's always been the case and there are many folk methods that supposedly influence the sex of the child people will have. The technological ability to do this reliably is growing, but should it be used? Might we upset the balance between males and females?

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I say hell yeah.
Not because I want kids or plan on having kids, or would choose between genders if I did....but because a whole lot of unnecessary infanticide and abortion could be nipped in the bud in places that already use it as a mean of getting their preferred gender.
Let China and India have all the male babies they want.
Might sort of strike the rest of us as ironic when they have eventually decimate their own cultural identity by massively marrying outside of China and India when there are no females available to marry....then females will be the preferred gender, and the sexist attitude will wither and die!
As Misty points out, it is far better to do it beforehand then via infanticide afterwards.

And in situations where such traditions are not in place, I don't the harm, any more than screening for potential genetic diseases.
as above... and i also see some families in the US who are "having just one more kid" (and then another, and another) in hopes of getting that son or daughter they need so they can have at least one of each.
I would rather have a boy then a girl. Girls are just not my cup of joe.
My only concern on this front is the old "slippery slope" argument. If you can design your child to be male or female, and then we get the ability to "design" out genetic issues, etc, would we then become dependent upon "genetics are destiny"?

I'm totally stealing the plot from GATTACA here, but it raises what I'd consider to be a valid concern regarding genetically engineering possibilities. Should the person who has a flawed-heart-gene, who has an 80% chance of developing coronary disease pay different health care costs than the child whose parents could afford to have all known flaws eliminated from their genome?

I know I totally went tangential, but it's where my mind goes when you start talking selective breeding practices.
Well Wendy, I honestly don't know how I feel about gender-selecting, but I see your point... and I don't think it's too far-fetched in our day. There's a lot going on now that would've seemed like distance-future sci-fi fantasy a couple decades ago. We can clone now; we can preselect the gender of our unborn children; we can regenerate appendages using a substance we extract from pig bladders; prosthetic limbs are suddenly giving people an ironically "unfair advantage"; robots are becoming increasingly humanoid... the list goes on and on. As we keep pushing the limits, ethical questions are paramount.

You know, I think this is why it's so important that religion goes the way of the dinosaurs. If we clone a person, and it grows to adulthood, should it have rights? Will it be considered murder if someone kills it? Will it be able to vote? I say, if it has the same mental capacities as "normal" people, it should have all the rights of one. A religious person might argue that only God can produce souls, therefore, clones aren't really human.

As far as gender selection goes, I think they should only allow such a thing once people are willing to comply to population control regulations. As creepy as that sounds, we can't give that type of power to people who have no idea how to wield it, or when to restrain themselves. I mean... when people aren't educated, it's dangerous. You wouldn't let someone fly a helicopter who doesn't have a license or training! This new open-source mentality is really cool in a lot of ways, but I don't like that people think they have a right to the latest technology, all the while insisting they have the right to do with it what they want even if they don't fully understand it. It's pretty irresponsible.

But... I'm done now. I'm sure I'll have a few people rip my argument... lol
Actually, I rather agree that in order to take advantage of some new technology, a person ought to know enough about it and its consequences to make an informed decision. Education is key, and not only the education in the pros and cons, but also education in how to act responsibly, and that will be the more difficult of the two.
Education is key, and not only the education in the pros and cons, but also education in how to act responsibly, and that will be the more difficult of the two.

Have you noticed our track record so far?
I would agree, I see nothing inherently wrong with being able to choose the gender of your child. The only true concern comes at the population level, its highly likely that we'll begin to see one gender outnumbering the other. I would expect this to be true even in societies were there does not appear to be any gender bias currently. If properly regulated to ensure that this does not occur, then this should be fine.

As for the GATTACA argument, that is also a concern. There is nothing inherently immoral about choosing children who are free of genetic mutations, and indeed it could easily be argued that it would be highly immoral to NOT do so if given the opportunity. However, the key to the GATTACA plot was that there were no institutions in place to protect against discrimination. It was this that allowed employers to screen employee's genetic information. If I recall correctly the employers were not allowed to ask potential employees for their genetic info, but instead gained it through other means such as handshakes, hair left behind, or saliva left on a glass. Such discrimination would be difficult to combat, but I believe it is very likely that we will eventually arrive at this point. As much as people say they don't want to play god, most would quite rightly love the chance to ensure that their child has the best chance at a good life.
No. Nature does a great job of balancing the gender ratio and I'd hate to think of a world that was one large sausage fest due to cultural preferences. Unless the future turned out to be full of nubile ladies and I somehow time traveled there in my spaceship......hmmm. Can I change my answer to "conflicted"?
My issue would be that one sex would be predominantly chosen over the other and then that sex would claim some kind of superiority and not only would we see discrimination in birthing babies of that sex, but in every other facet of our society. We've worked too hard to fall backward on that issue.

If someone is already going to choose the sex of their child by aborting until they get it right or infanticide, then let them pick which sex they will have - or better yet, don't let them be parents at all since that's fucked up and illustrates a lack of true empathy. If you're just picky about having kids, then you also really shouldn't be a parent. I say this from my personal belief that we should severely limit the number of people who can breed, and so people who are picky and whiny about it wouldn't make the cut. Either be completely open to it or don't have kids. Only the most truly loving potential parents need apply in my world.
Due to the fact of a couple of studies done which show that the amount of females being born is growing over male and the theory there in that females will begin to greatly out number males I feel as if it should be allowed.

Oh? Which studies?

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