Moral attitudes and beliefs among couples pursuing PGD for sex selection

Richard R. Sharp, Michelle L. McGowan, Jonathan A. Verma, David C. Landy, Sallie McAdoo, Sandra A. Carson, Joe Leigh Simpson, Laurence B. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article reports the results from a study of couples participating in a research protocol in which IVF/preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) was available for non-medical sex selection. The study sought to characterize the moral attitudes and beliefs of couples actively pursuing IVF/PGD solely for purposes related to sex selection. Eighteen couples participated in ethnographic interviews from November 2005 to April 2006. These interviews explored couples' motivations for pursuing sex selection, moral beliefs and attitudes regarding sex selection and sources of moral ambivalence about the use of IVF/PGD for sex selection. Couples reported a combination of motivations for pursuing sex selection, including a desire to limit family size, concerns about parental age and financial concerns about multiple pregnancies. Many couples compared their decision to choices about abortion, maintaining that individuals have a right to make such decisions privately. Couples frequently expressed anxiety about telling their other children and family members about their plans to use IVF/PGD for sex selection. Few couples cited concerns about the physical or emotional burdens of IVF/PGD. The study's findings suggest that couples pursuing IVF/PGD for sex selection view this as an ethically complex decision and express considerable uncertainty about the ethical acceptability of this practice. Our paper reports results from a study of couples participating in a research study in which IVF/preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) was made available for non-medical sex selection. To our knowledge this is the first study to examine the moral attitudes and beliefs of couples actively seeking to use IVF/PGD solely for sex selection. The couples in our study provide a unique opportunity to examine the range of moral attitudes and beliefs held by couples actively seeking sex selection. The results we report provide much needed empirical data for clinicians who may be facing the difficult task of deciding whether, and in what manner, to offer patients the option of using IVF/PGD for sex selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-847
Number of pages10
JournalReproductive BioMedicine Online
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Assisted reproduction
  • Ethics
  • Family balancing
  • Informed consent
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
  • Sex selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology

Cite this

Sharp, R. R., McGowan, M. L., Verma, J. A., Landy, D. C., McAdoo, S., Carson, S. A., Simpson, J. L., & McCullough, L. B. (2010). Moral attitudes and beliefs among couples pursuing PGD for sex selection. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 21(7), 838-847. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2010.09.009