Family Balancing

The concept of family balancing is a measured approach to the use of preconception gender selection. Family balancing provides married couples having at least one child the opportunity to use various methods to increase the chance of having another child of the less represented sex in the family.

In 1994, the International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (FIGO) Committee for the Ethical Aspects of Human Reproduction and Women’s Health stated that “preconceptional sex selection can be justified on social grounds in certain cases for the objective of allowing children of the two sexes to enjoy the love and care of parents.”

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Ethics Committee published a report (Fertility and Sterility, May 2001) concerning the use of preconception gender selection for non-medical reasons. The Ethics Committee recognized that “parents have traditionally had great discretion in their procreative decisions and that sex selection might provide perceived individual and social goods such as gender balance or distribution in a family with more than one child, parental companionship with a child of one’s own gender, and a preferred gender order among one’s children.”

The ASRM Committee recommendations included the following: “…the most prudent approach at present for the non-medical use of these techniques would be to use them only for gender variety in a family, i.e., only to have a child of the gender opposite of an existing child or children. If the social, psychological, and demographic effects of those uses of preconception gender selection have been found acceptable, then other non-medical uses of preconception selection might be considered.”


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