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Choosing baby's sex to be available in UK
www.chinaview.cn 2005-03-25 09:12:40

The British parents will may have rights to choose the sex of their unborn baby, the UK's Commons Science and Technology Committee reported on Thursday.
The British parents will may have rights to choose the sex of their unborn baby, the UK's Commons Science and Technology Committee reported on Thursday. (Photo source: Yahoo)
    BEIJING, Mar. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- The British parents may have rights to choose the sex of their unborn baby, the UK's Commons Science and Technology Committee reported on Thursday.

    The Science and Technology Select Committee was split over its decision not to call for a ban of the practice, with 5 of its 10 members refusing to put their names to the final report made public.

    Critics say sex selection would turn unborn babies into consumer items and could pave the way for parents choosing other characteristics such as hair or eye color.

    British law currently allows parents undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment to choose the sex of their child for medical reasons such as gender-linked diseases like haemophilia and muscular dystrophy.

    The report represents a dramatic shift of thinking away from putting the welfare of a potential child before the needs of the parents and would give couples the freedom to determine the sex of their child.

    The report is angering religious and bio-ethics groups which argue that sex selection violates divine law and would lead to "designer babies."

    A spokesman for the Church of England said it would "oppose strongly any proposals that tend to erode proper priority for the welfare of the child or that embrace a view of children as consumer commodities.

    "Sex selection for social reasons would have serious consequences for society as well as for families," he said.

    In addition to the recommendation on sex selection, the parliamentary committee report calls for the current regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, to be disbanded and replaced by a less powerful regulatory agency. This agency would focus on ensuring technical and management standards at fertility clinics and research laboratories.

    A health ministry spokesperson said the report's findings would be considered as one factor in the wider process, and the divisions of the committee members would be taken into account.

(Agencies)

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