May 29, 2024


 The UK’s most prominent IVF researcher, Lord Robert Winston, has taken a strong stand as a supporter of social sex selection. Writing in the London Daily Mail, he writes that every parent has a right to choose their baby’s sex. Although this practice is currently banned in the UK, he feels that the justification for this is flimsy.

He even argues that in countries like India and China, where the sex ratio has become grossly distorted because of abortions of girls, IVF sex selection would be beneficial. "Pre-conception sex selection might reduce the incidence of selective abortion and female infanticide. Of course, sex selection is hardly the ideal way of dealing with such an iniquitous practice but, in the short term, it would be a far better option until there was a radical change in a culture which seemingly prefers boys to girls," he argues. In the UK, he says, sex selection is unlikely to lead to an imbalance in the sex ratio.

On the other hand, Lord Winston is troubled by the possibility of genetic manipulation for increased strength and intelligence and so forth. "Such meddling would be a serious threat to our humanity, devaluing those ‘ordinary humans’ who haven’t been genetically enhanced. If a genetic mistake was made — almost an inevitability — this would lead to permanent and irreversible genetic problems in all future generations," he writes. He calls for a public debate on these issues — rather than submitting to the "knee-jerk" reactions of the UK’s fertility regulator.