Does IVF have control over the gender of the child? | Health - Hindustan Times

Does IVF have control over the gender of the child?

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Nov 05, 2023 04:37 PM IST

Some methods that involve analysing embryos created through IVF, identify specific genetic characteristics. Can it include gender and control a child's gender?

In a world where science and hope intersect, In Vitro Fertilization or IVF emerges as a possibility for couples who want to start a family but there are some misconceptions ruling the world like, pregnancy only depends on a woman and IVF is too artificial and not a natural procedure. According to health experts, IVF is like a helping hand from science, making parenthood dreams come true for many where the IVF journey means embracing possibilities and it is about understanding the process, seeking support and debunking myths.

Does IVF have control over the gender of the child? (File Photo)
Does IVF have control over the gender of the child? (File Photo)

IVF brings families closer to their dreams, one step at a time but studies say that there are some methods that involve analysing embryos created through IVF to identify specific genetic characteristics, which can include gender. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Nishi Singh, Head of Fertility at Prime IVF, stated, “As healthcare providers, we recognise the extraordinary advances achieved by science in identifying a child's gender during IVF, particularly through procedures like preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). However, this practice's ethical implications are crucial and warrant careful thinking. It is crucial to understand that not all nations allow gender selection, which is a reflection of the ethical complexity of this matter.”

She added, “It is crucial to stress that doctors should not support or participate in gender selection for the sole goal of personal preference or family planning, in accordance with the fundamentals of medical ethics. Gender selection in the context of IVF should only be used in extreme circumstances, especially those involving medical conditions that only affect one gender in particular. In such instances, the selection of the child's gender may be medically warranted to prevent or mitigate the risks associated with these genetic conditions.”

Elaborating upon IVF gender control, Dr Nishi Singh said, “Legal and regulatory limits may be imposed if IVF is used inappropriately or unethically for gender selection. Healthcare professionals must abide by stringent ethical standards and make sure that gender selection is only taken into account when it is medically necessary to treat rare and severe genetic disorders in order to uphold the integrity of the medical profession and guard against the misuse of these techniques. This strategy promotes the ethical and responsible use of IVF technology while acknowledging the larger cultural and ethical issues surrounding gender selection.”

Jagatjeet Singh, Co-Founder of Baby Joy IVF, said, “The relationship between in vitro fertilization (IVF) and a child's gender constitutes a multidimensional investigation that weaves together technical breakthroughs, ethical issues, and cultural conventions. The gender of a kid cannot be completely controlled through IVF. Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) has, however, broadened the possibilities for gender selection in the context of assisted reproductive technologies. PGT makes it easier to genetically evaluate IVF-created embryos, enabling potential parents to select the embryos of their desired gender.”

He concluded, “A wide range of personal beliefs and cultural factors might have an impact on a client's attitude towards gender selection. It is viewed by some as a means of achieving personal autonomy and thoughtful family planning. On the other hand, there are worries that these actions might unintentionally support old-fashioned gender stereotypes and socioeconomic inequities. To guide persons seeking assisted reproductive technologies in this complex terrain with knowledge and consideration, it is crucial to have a thorough awareness of the ethical, social, and cultural components.”

For those who sincerely desire a child but require a little additional assistance, IVF is similar to a helping hand. It is amazing how science can make big dreams come true for lots of people who might have thought they couldn't have a baby.

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