Ethics of gender selection to be discussed

Ethics of gender selection to be discussed

The scientific advances which make it possible for parents to choose the sex of their child will be discussed at a free event in Aberdeen next week.

Gender selection for non-medical reasons is prohibited in the UK and the majority of Europe, but legal in countries including the USA and Russia.

Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Aberdeen, Siladitya Bhattacharya will outline the developments in genetic biology which mean a child’s gender can be preselected in the test tube.

In his talk, which takes place on Monday (December 13) at Satrosphere Science Centre beginning at 7pm, Professor Bhattacharya will also discuss the ethical debate surrounding gender selection.

Professor Bhattacharya said: “Scientific advances in recent years have led to the evolution of procedures which make it possible for parents to choose the sex of their child prior to conception. 

“The two most common methods are through sperm sorting which takes place preconception whereby the X and Y chromosomes in sperm are separated, and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) where embryos are genetically tested for X or Y chromosomes before being implanted.

“In the UK gender selection for social rather than medical reasons by licensed centres is prohibited by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). This decision is based on public consultation, the last of which took place in 2003.

“In my talk I will address the ethical debate surrounding gender selection for social reasons either in terms of selecting the sex of a first child or balancing the gender mix in a family.”

Professor Bhattacharya’s talk is part of the University’s Café Controversial series which provides a relaxed public forum for the discussion of topics which polarise opinion.

Advance registration is not required for the event which is free to attend and open to all.

For more information on the event, visit www.cafescienceaberdeen.co.uk/ .

Café Controversialis supported by a science engagement grant from the Scottish Government.

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