Coming to America…For Eugenics

Did you know the United States has no law against sex selection of babies with in vitro fertilization? Because of that, couples are coming from other countries in order to choose the sex of their children here. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that couples are coming from China, which has laws against sex selection!

These aren’t infertile couples, but regular, egg-and-sperm-producing men and women who want a child of a particular sex. Now, I have a problem with in vitro fertilization anyway, because it likely leads to the destruction of embryos, or at least the creation of more embryos than are “used.” (See? We’ve all got the baby consumer lingo down.) So we shouldn’t be too surprised that this is the next step.

But it gets even nastier when one considers the step after this. What if someone screws up and a baby (sorry, embryo–have to be as impersonal as possible) of the “wrong” sex is implanted? Even if the “mother” doesn’t have an abortion, what can her relationship with her child be like? What if that child learns that not only did his or her parents want a child of the opposite sex, they actually took pains to insure a child of the opposite sex. Oops.

The Australians in the story say,

“It’s not like we want some 6-foot-tall, blue-eyed Brad Pitt lookalike,” Robert said. “I naturally have something and my wife naturally has something and it’s taken out of our bodies and then you’re getting a doctor to mix it together and put it back in. … We’re not messing around with God the creator.”

Well, as long as you don’t want Brad Pitt. By the way, Robert, are you comfortable with the way you look? As for “taking it out, mixing it together, and putting it back in”: at some point in the distant Neanderthal past, all that “mixing” took place inside your wife’s body; it was indeed a mystery; and neither you nor your wife had anything directly to do with the mixing. Who could it have been, if it wasn’t a Doctor? That’s my question.

[O]ne doctor who offers embryo selection for about $20,000 says he is serving the marketplace and helping Nature, not playing God. People will be less alarmed as sex selection becomes more routine, said Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg of the Fertility Institutes of Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

“It’s new. It’s scary. We understand that,” Steinberg said. His Web site features an image of a Chinese flag alongside information about sex selection. “Near 100% (99.99%) effective gender selection methods to help balance families,” the Web site promises.

I don’t know if MSNBC intended the connections, but those comments made a lovely juxtaposition, didn’t they? He’s right; he’s not playing God. It seems to me that God generally works against Nature-with-a-capital-N and the market. I’m not playing God, I’m just helping Nature! I’m not playing God, I’m just serving the market! Indeed. Once my clinics are everywhere, I won’t care what you thi–I mean, you’ll be less alarmed.

Finally, why is the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (heard of it?) against sex selection? “The group says the practice risks reinforcing sexism in society and diverts medical resources from real medical needs.” Which are clearly the most pressing moral and ethical reasons not to do it. Heck, the reason I’m against it is because my money could be going to more worthwhile medical practices, for people in genuine need, such as abortion. Now that’s a real medical need: because at first it’s just the skirt that doesn’t fit; what’s next? It’s a completely slippery slope all the way down to actually caring for the kid.


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