Embryo Screening Stirs Ethics Debate
Kristen and John Magill adore all three of their daughters -- 11-year-old twins and a 5-year-old baby sister. But when they began to plan for their next -- and last -- child, the Magills really wanted a boy.
"My husband is a 'Junior' and has a family business that he wants to continue in the family name," said Kristen, 37, of Grafton, Mass.
So the Magills combined a family trip to Disneyland in August with a stop at a Los Angeles fertility clinic that enables couples to pick the sex of their babies. Kristen is now expecting twin boys.
The doctors offering the services, as well as some medical ethicists who defend them, argue the procedures make it possible for parents to fulfill a natural desire, harm no one, and enhance the joys of parenthood and family life.
"These are grown-up people expressing their reproductive choices. We cherish that in the United States," said Jeffrey Steinberg, director of the Fertility Institutes, which offers the service at clinics in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. "These people are really happy when they get what they want. These are heartwarming stories."
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