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