It's a Boy! (With All the Extras You Ordered)

Ian Ayers recently blegged you about boy-specific or girl-specific Happy Meal toys from McDonald’s.

But forget about toys; when was the last time your doctor asked if you’d like to choose your child’s sex?

The Wall Street Journal reports on a Los Angeles clinic that will soon let parents choose the sex of their unborn children. Their designer options also include physical traits including hair color, eye color, and even skin color.

This raises a mountain of questions, ethical and otherwise. But what might the unintended consequences be? Dubner and Levitt have written about how sex-specific abortions in Asian countries have created a huge gender gap in countries like India, China, and Pakistan. Would a designer-baby boom create a gender gap here — and in which direction?

If your doctor gave you the choice to customize your unborn child to your preferences, would you take it? And what would you choose?


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  1. C. Larity says:

    I wouldn’t choose the sex or skin color, but is it possible to add a flight option? Adamantium claws, perhaps?

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  2. DB says:

    Why leave this in the hands of parents? I smell an awesome field experiment!

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  3. Robin says:

    How about hermaphrodite? I’ve always wanted a kid who will have a hard time adjusting socially.

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  4. Valkyri says:

    My youngest child is 14, so this is in hindsight. I would have probably chosen to have male children just because I relate to them better. Not knowing that at the time, I probably would have gone for a millionaire’s family (boy first, then girl) because that is the epitome of a perfect family. That being said, I don’t think that choosing gender should be allowed, and the fact that I said I would have done it is enough reason. I would do it because I was able, not for any other good reason, and that reason isn’t good enough at all. I’m not sure I agree with people having ultrasounds to find out the gender, let alone having the power to choose it.

    As for choosing hair and eye colour – a little bit vain isn’t it?

    There are plenty of sci-fi’s out there that depict a world of genetically engineered people, and from the ones that I recall, it never really turns out the way it was intended.

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  5. David says:

    Anyone seen Gattaca?
    This is a bad idea.

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  6. George Bush Sr. says:

    What, no mention of Gattaca?

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  7. craig says:

    Only if it allowed us to have both a boy and a girl.

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  8. Julie says:

    If I were going to choose, I would choose a boy. I imagine a lot of other people would as well. Why would any parent want their child’s skin color to not match their own? Isn’t one of the draws of procreating to have children that carry your physical traits? Every father I know is proud of the fact that his son looks like him.

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