Preimplantation Genetic Screening: Sex Selection

Pre-pregnancy genetic testing in the form of PGS, or preimplantation genetic screening, is being increasingly recommended for IVF couples. The advent of PGS has led to the controversies regarding sex selection or gender selection. Sex selection through PGS is offered by a very limited number of IVF clinics, and most IVF clinics strictly prohibit it.

Sex Selection in Preimplantation Genetic Screening

This is because many IVF couples have the inclination to request the eradication of embryos based on their gender. This form of embryonic selection is not endorsed by healthcare facilities, since it doesn't have a medical reasoning. Gender of the child is defined as a non-essential characteristic in the niche of medicine, i.e., a trait that is not related to the survival of the individual and his or her medical health.

Why Sex Selection Is Not Encouraged

Preimplantation Genetic Screening is sought by many couples who want to know the sex of the embryo. This is sought for non-medical reasons, among which cultural and ethnic influences are the primary causes. Using PGS for sex selection can have serious implications in some nations wherein the sex ratio between males and females is already skewed. This can lead to gender-based discrimination, wherein it is usually seen that the female child isn't preferred by many people. This is largely applicable to nations wherein females are interpreted as a financial burden and extreme, illegal practices like infanticide of newborn females is often witnessed.

The only accepted use of PGS for sex selection and to a very limited extent is seen in place where family balancing is the main objective, i.e., to reduce disparity between the number of males and females in the family. The conventional definition of family balancing indicates that a gender-based imbalance is created in the family when a couple has two or more children of the same gender. However, it is unclear whether IVF clinics providing a sex selection option in their PGS services strictly adhere to this benchmark.

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