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Should parents be able to choose the sex of their child?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,446 times Debate No: 16012
Debate Rounds (3)
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For my first debate, I would like to discuss the idea of parents choosing their child's sex. I am taking the side against this topic.

First let me define my terms. The term child is referring to an unborn baby. The term parents refers to whosoever has legal guardianship of a child at birth. The term sex refers to the biological sex (genitalia) of the baby. This does not include the child's gender (feminine or masculine traits).

Hopefully thats enough to spark someone's interest. I look forward to a good debate!


As Americans, we have the freedom of choice. If our country allows the legalization of abortion, why should parents not be able to choose their child's sex. We can kill babies, but we can't say determine if we have a boy or a girl?! Sex selection could help reduce the population because couples could get the gender they wanted right off gate instead of continuously having children until they get the gender they desire. We have all known someone in that situation where for instance, they already have three boys, but decide to try for another baby because they want a girl or vice versa. We would also probably also see less children being given up for adoption because of the child being the undesired gender, such has been the case in China. Another important issue the sex selection could alleviate would be sex specific diseases. Many times parents are carriers of a known sex specific disease. Should they risk having a child of that sex? These people will often choose against having children if the risk is great enough. Sex selection would allow these people to have children despite having these diseases because they would be able to choose the sex.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for your participation in this debate! You make some valid points, but you do not back them up with any supporting evidence. I will go through your points and offer my rebuttals.

1.Abortion: While I in no means aim to steer the current debate to the topic of abortion, I do think it is an important point that should be addressed. I do not hold the position that sex selection should not be allowed from a moral stance. The ramifications of sex selection are far greater than those of abortion. Sex selection could lead to a huge sex imbalance that could greatly affect future generations. This leads me to my next point.

2.Population: You mentioned that sex selection could help reduce the population because people would have fewer children. While it is true that this could reduce population on a more immediate and purposeful level, it could also reduce future populations as a negative side effect of past decisions. In talking about China, one must recognize that they already have in place sex selective abortions. There is a huge concern that by the year 2020, the number of men will far outweigh the number of women. This will cut down on the number of future children born. There is also concern of resulting violence and chaos from men competing for a small number of women.

3.Sex specific diseases: I don't think sex selection is the correct answer for sex specific diseases. Just because a child is a certain sex does not mean that he/she will have a particular disease. There are genetic tests that can be done to determine whether or not an embryo has a genetic disease. A couple can then be sure that the child will not have a devastating illness. While this would again be a moral issue for many people, I find a huge difference between selecting embryos that are disease free for the benefit of the child as opposed to the superficial selection of sex.

I believe it is also important to make clear the distinction between sex and gender so as not to confuse others. Sex selection of babies as I previously mentioned, is the choosing of a child with the biological sex (genitalia) of a male or female. Gender refers to the traits that would make one feminine or masculine. It has been debated whether gender traits are biological or sociological. It is possible, therefore, that a couple could choose their child's sex to be male and he exhibits more stereotypical feminine traits or they choose a female sex and she exhibits stereotypical male traits.


Yes, as Jillianl commented, certain diseases are sex specific. CHILD syndrome, or congenital hemidysplasia with ichthyosiform erythroderma and limb defects is one of them. Although non fatal, is associated with an array of symptoms including possible missing fingers and limbs. This disease is an x dominant disease with no treatment. All daughters of an affected father will also be affected. If a father is known to have this gene, it only makes sense that he would want a son.

Sex selection, whether medical or not, should be a decision made by the parents. Since 1996 there have been 400 pre-selected sex births in the U.S. and most of us are non the wiser. The average cost is $2300, which is not unreasonable for most people. This would not restrict this procedure to just the upper class.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you Jillianl for your comment. I did not mean to say that sex specific diseases do not exist, but that sometimes children will only be carriers of a disease and not actually affected, but I realize that this can occur with the diseases such as the one fpierce85 mentioned (CHILDS syndrome).

For example:
X-linked diseases will usually occur more in males than females because they only have one x chromosome. Therefore, a female can be a carrier, but can only become ill if an affected father has a daughter.
Y-linked diseases are not as common because the y chromosome is smaller. A y-linked disease can only be transferred from father to son.

This issue can be addressed, however, with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. This is a medical procedure where eggs are fertilized outside the womb and then tested for genetic mutations. Embryos that are free of abnormalities are then implanted in the womb. To save you from stating this argument: In cases of sex specific diseases, the affected sex embryos will be destroyed. I still feel that this falls under the category of genetic testing and not sex selection.

You also said that the average cost is around $2300 for a sex selection procedure. While this might not seem like an unreasonable amount to you and me, according to the U.S. census bureau, the average salary for middle class now ranges from $19,178 to $91,705 in order to encompass all areas of middle class. While the higher end of that spectrum is likely able to afford $2300, $19,178 is nearing the poverty threshold and it would be extremely unlikely they would be able to afford it.

I will also re-address the sex imbalance we are seeing in China. As I said, China is already facing a problem with an uneven sex-ration and India is starting to see similar results. In 2005, it was reported that in China there are 100 girls born for every 118 boys born, with some more rural areas showing ratios of 100 girls for every 130 boys.

This article,, states that according to a 2001 census, India has 993 girls for every 1000 boys. It lists sex selection and the preference for the male sex as one of the causes of this ration.

Overall, sex selection should not be legal for a couple of reasons other than the obvious moral questions that people bring up. Sex selection has the potential to create a large and dangerous sex imbalance. This could lead to an imbalance of reproductive partners and lessen the likelihood of future generations. A sex imbalance could also lead to violence and a rise in crime rate, as already seen in China, due to the abundance of males. Sex selection would also not be affordable for all families and would either increase the gap in socioeconomic status, or cause a rise in health care prices if it was included as a social service.

Thank you fpierce85 for debating with me. I look forward to your final thoughts!


While I appreciate your attempt to differentiate between pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and sex selection, on some levels it is the exact same thing. Just as you said, when a couple with a sex specific disease has this procedure, the embryos of the sex that would be affected are destroyed. So even if you do not agree with the idea of sex selection as a whole, you are at least admitting to medical sex selection. As for China and India, there might need to be certain regulations that go along with sex selection. They already implemented a one child rule starting in 1979, so it is not unrealistic that they will implement a regulatory policy on sex selection. It is still my opinion that sex selection should be allowed and is the right of at least American citizens according to our legislation on any level, medical or not.

Thanks for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Jillianl 7 years ago
"Sex specific diseases: I don't think sex selection is the correct answer for sex specific diseases. Just because a child is a certain sex does not mean that he/she will have a particular disease."

Most people think so, but this is patently false. There are several sex-linked diseases that only exhibit symptoms in one gender and not the other. It is a lot more common than you think. Check it out,
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: " So even if you do not agree with the idea of sex selection as a whole, you are at least admitting to medical sex selection." - indeed