NEWS

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February 22, 2008

Bioethicists as the justices of medicine

Consider the following:Couple A approaches an IVF clinic seeking help having their first child. IVF is a process by which sperm from the father fertilizes an egg from the mother in a laboratory and fertilized embryos are implanted in the mother for gestation. Couple A is not seeking IVF because of fertility problems (the most common reason) but rather because they want a baby girl…and specifically a baby girl, not a baby boy. Couple B approaches the very same IVF clinic. They, like Couple A, do not have any fertility problems. On the contrary, they are the proud parents of four boys. They too, however, seek a baby girl and only a baby girl. Why? They explain: They want five children, a mix of boys and girls. Any more would be too many for them to handle. They have done it the natural way four times, but this time, they really want to give their sons a sister.Which couple(s) should the IVF clinic help or not help? My (brief) take in The Observer.