Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_89685

Israel allows 'social' sex selection

31 May 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 310

Israeli parents who have at least four children of the same sex may now be allowed to use PGD to conceive a child of the opposite sex. A new directive passed on 19 May will allow couples to apply for permission to select embryos according to their sex, but only in 'very unusual cases', according to a report in the British Medical Journal. Each request will be considered by a new seven-member committee, which will be comprised of experts in law, medical genetics and obstetrics, as well as a social worker and a clergyman.

Apart from one case officially approved by the country's Health Ministry, all PGD procedures carried out so far in Israel have been done to avoid passing on a serious genetic condition. The decision to allow PGD for social sex selection has attracted criticism, from both the media and politicians. The Commissioner for Future Generations, Shlomo Shoham, said that 'providing the option of choosing the sex of a fetus is sliding down a slippery slope', and 'another step on the road to severe moral deterioration'. He added that Israel must 'prohibit such a possibility by law'.

The Health Ministry has issued detailed regulations and guidelines for parents who wish to select the sex of their baby. Permission will only be given in cases where 'there is real and apparent danger of substantial harm to the mental health of the parents or parent, or of the child destined to be born, if the desired procedure is not performed'. Also, parents must have at least four children together of the same sex, except in 'extraordinary and extremely rare cases'. However, Shoham says that 'parents' mental health' is 'very undefined', and 'likely to be translated into those who don't have sons'. The Health Ministry's decision followed a joint recommendation by the committee on genetic experimentation in humans and the bioethics committee of the national academy of sciences.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
An arrogant challenge to nature
Haaretz.com |  29 May 2005
Health Ministry blasted over decision to allow fetus sex selection
Haaretz.com |  20 May 2005
Israel allows sex selection of embryos for non-medical reasons
British Medical Journal |  28 May 2005
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
1 July 2005 - by BioNews 
A company in the United States has begun marketing a kit which allows women to discover the sex of their baby as early as five weeks into the pregnancy. Currently, expectant mothers can get a good idea of their baby's sex with a routine ultrasound at around 16 weeks, but...
24 March 2005 - by BioNews 
The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (STC) is deeply divided over its inquiry into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law. Only half of the ten committee members put their names to the summary report, published today alongside a Special Report detailing the committee's disagreements. The dissenting MPs...
14 March 2005 - by BioNews 
The UK's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (STC) is to recommend that couples should be allowed to use sex selection to achieve the families they desire, and that rules on the creation of 'designer babies' should be eased, according to an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper...
19 January 2004 - by BioNews 
The Science and Technology Committee (STC) of the UK's House of Commons is launching an online consultation into human reproductive technologies and the law. The consultation will be launched at a joint STC and British Academy debate on sex selection - just one of the issues to be covered in the...
12 November 2003 - by BioNews 
Almost a year after the launch of a public consultation on sex selection, the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has announced its recommendations to Government, which include a continuation of the current ban on sex selection for non-medical reasons. The consultation document asked whether people in the UK...
12 November 2003 - by Juliet Tizzard 
Today the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has launched the outcome of a year-long enquiry into sex selection. The main recommendation of the HFEA's report, 'Sex selection: options for regulation', is that the existing ban on sex selection for social reasons be upheld. Given that the HFEA already regulates the...
HAVE YOUR SAY
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.