Chrissy Teigen's choice of female embryo re-sparks sex selection debate

TORONTO -- American model and TV host Chrissy Teigen has faced criticism after disclosing her personal decision to hand-pick a female embryo during in-vitro fertilization.

See Full Article

The wife of singer-songwriter John Legend told People Magazine she was excited at the thought of seeing her husband with a little girl, adding that he "deserves that bond" and that "a boy will come along."

Canadian law bans any procedures that "would ensure or increase the probability that an embryo will be of a particular sex, or that would identify the sex of an in vitro embryo," except for preventing, diagnosing or treating sex-linked disorders or diseases, like hemophilia.

Not so in the U.S., and fertility clinics have opened their doors to international patients seeking to predetermine the sex of their babies.

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, founder of the Fertility Institutes, said the overwhelming majority of Canadians visiting their clinics opt for sex selection, which costs around US$17,000. The average Canadian couple is in their mid-30s with three kids of the same sex and is looking to "balance their family," he added.

"I think the biggest misconception is that we're making boys or making girls -- and we absolutely are not," said Steinberg, whose clinics operate in New York, Los Angeles and Mexico.

"Couples make their own boys and girls. All we're doing is we're taking a look genetically at what we've made and giving them that information so that they can make their own decisions."

While sex-selection techniques like pairing IVF with embryo testing aren't new, the practice continues to raise questions about the ethics and reasoning behind pursuing such a procedure.

A 2011 joint statement from international agencies including UNICEF and the World Health Organization stated that while sex selection is sometimes used for family balancing, it "far more typically occurs because of a systematic preference for boys."

The statement reinforced the need for protecting the rights of girls and women, and to address the multiple ways in which gender discrimination manifests, "including the problem of imbalanced sex ratios caused by sex selection."

"Some people would say it's the thin edge of the wedge towards designer babies, where it's not whether you want a baby or not: it's what kind of baby you want," said Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto.

"That's what many people feel is creeping into this conversation -- and sex is part of that."

Toronto-based fertility law lawyer Sara Cohen said she occasionally encounters people who are upset that sex selection isn't available in Canada, and most of the time, they'll go to the U.S. But she said there are far greater concerns when it comes to reproductive technologies, like illegalizing payments to surrogate mothers, sperm and egg donors.

"(Sex selection is) part of the piece of the puzzle ... but in Canada we've got way bigger fish to fry," said Cohen.

"I think it's a huge problem with allowing people to choose what they do with their body, and we're really involved in ways that I personally think are inappropriate. Our legislation is involved in reproductive freedom, to some extent, and criminalizes choices that people could make."

Dr. Joel Batzofin, founder of New York Fertility Services, acknowledged that while sex selection is controversial in some circles, he doesn't believe those who opt for the procedure should be criticized.

"They're not interfering with anyone. It's their life to live. We are doing this ethically. The technology's available.

"We do not get involved in other things like (selecting) eye colour, hair colour stuff like that. There are people that do, but we don't go to that place."

Alana Cattapan, a postdoctoral fellow in the faculty of medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said she's argued against sex selection for two reasons: the inequalities that still exist between men and women, and the reinforcement of gender stereotypes.

"You expect the people who have certain kinds of chromosomes to behave a certain way throughout their entire life, and you're unwilling to miss out on the experiences that you assume that those children will bring to your life," said Cattapan.

"I just think that is reinforcing stereotypes about how people will behave -- or how everyone should behave -- in relation to their chromosomal makeup.... In a society where we're constantly telling children that they can be whatever they want to be, it's so strange that we try to attach certain ideas of who they're going to be to their embryos even before they exist."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Charlie Sheen gets sued by 2nd ex for exposure to HIV

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actor Charlie Sheen has reportedly been sued by a second ex-girlfriend for exposing her to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The ex-Two and a Half Men star’s former fiancee Scottine Ross filed suit against him in December, 2015, accusing Sheen of exposing her to the virus, while alleging he had abused her physically and emotionally throughout their relationship. Source
  • 'She turns me on'; 50 Cent smitten with Helen Mirren

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    50 Cent has fallen for the charms of Dame Helen Mirren, insisting he finds it hard not to just stare at her whenever he’s in her company. The 69-year-old Oscar winner and the rapper, who is almost 30 years younger, met up on the red carpet at the 57th Monte Carlo TV Festival on Tuesday in Monaco, and he is happy to admit he now has a major new crush. Source
  • Queens of the ring: Netflix's Glow puts spotlight on women's wrestling, then and now

    Entertainment CBC News
    In the first episode of Netflix's Glow, Ruth Wilder, an aspiring, down-on-her-luck actor (played by Alison Brie), is training inside a wrestling ring. She's one of a dozen or so prospects for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a women's wrestling show headed by Sam Silvia (Marc Maron), an ornery director whose B-movie credits include titles such as Blood Disco. Source
  • Former 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' star Nicholas Brendon strangled woman, slit wrists with glass: Police report

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Nicholas Brendon just can’t stop getting himself into trouble, and this may be his worst incident yet. Brendon, 46, was arrested for domestic abuse on October 18, 2016, his fifth arrest in three years, in a shocking police report exclusively obtained by Radaronline.com. Source
  • Wonder Woman weds Deadpool at comics convention

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Imagine a wedding between Wonder Woman and Deadpool, attended by Mary Poppins, Superman, Dr. Who, Kylo Ren and the Little Mermaid. More than 100 costume-clad nerds, cosplayers, gamers and fantasists gathered June 17 to celebrate the real-life union of Megan Mattingly and Adam Merica, dressed as Wonder Woman and Deadpool, at Awesome Con, an annual Washington comic book and pop-culture convention that drew approximately 71,000 visitors last weekend. Source
  • Slip of tongue fuels speculation on Banksy identity

    Entertainment CTV News
    An unguarded moment in an interview has renewed speculation over one of contemporary art's great mysteries -- could elusive graffiti activist Banksy be Robert Del Naja of band Massive Attack? Goldie, a well-known DJ who was a friend and competitor of Del Naja as the two sprayed Bristol in southwest England with graffiti in the 1980s, made an apparent slip of the tongue in an interview this week. Source
  • More than meets the why? The cinematic slurry that is Transformers: The Last Knight

    Entertainment CBC News
    In the world of modern day blockbusters there is a phrase you hear a lot. "Trailer Moments." Every action film has to have a few. A trailer moment is something larger-than-life. The hero escaping just as the explosion blooms behind her. Source
  • 'The Fault in Our Stars' author announces next novel

    Entertainment CTV News
    John Green, author of the much-loved book "The Fault in Our Stars," has revealed that his next novel will come out on October 10 with the title "Turtles All the Way Down." According to the plot summary, the forthcoming novel focuses on Aza Holmes, a young woman "navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. Source
  • Ron Howard hopes to honour 'great work' done on Han Solo film

    Entertainment CBC News
    Ron Howard says he hopes to honour the great work that's already been done on the Han Solo film and help to deliver on its promise. The Oscar-winner has only been in the pilot's seat on the Star Wars spinoff film for a day but is not wasting any time making his passion for the franchise known. Source
  • 'Transformers: The Last Knight,' Johnny Depp and the Bey-bies and other winners and losers in Hollywood this week

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    You know the song: Some gotta win, some gotta lose Good time Charlie's got the blues. Never mind about that Charlie dude though — let’s just get to the winning and losing this week: WINNERS 1) It was announced earlier this week that Jay-Z and Beyonce have new infant twins, a boy and a girl, although an exact birth date has not yet been confirmed. Source