Spring Symposium debate on PGD for sex selection was won by Dr. Gillian Lockwood from Birmingham.
Dr. Gillian Lockwood, Consultant Gynaecologist, Medical Director of the Midland Fertility Services debated for the motion "This house believes that PGD for sex selection for family balancing (gender selection) is a basic human right". The opposing view was supported by Dr. Lucy Frith from the University of Liverpool.
The Symposium took place in Kyrenia, Cyprus (20-22 April 2012) and was sponsored by the UKCFA and the Cyprus IVF Centre. Over fourty consultants, specialist nurses and counsellors from ten biggest IVF units of the UK attended. PGD for sex selection for family balancing purposes is a hotly debated topic within the. Sex selection to avoid genetic conditions that affect a particular sex within a family is legal in the UK.
Although, PGD for sex selection solely for family balancing purposes is illegal in teh UK, families who would like to determine the sex of their baby have been therefore travelling abroad to undergo IVF procedure to be able to have PGD and sex selection. There is no control over this process and sometimes patients contact clinics abroad and try to carry out the initial stages of their treatments at home themselves in an uncontrolled fashion. This can be dangerous. It is possible for a couple to start the initial part of their PGD treatment within the UK by starting an IVF treatment under the care of the UKCFA. This way the first stage of treatment can be completed safely and in a fashion that would give the couple the best chance of conception. The UKCFA will of course be in touch with the Cyprus IVF Centre (CIC) during that process, where the couple would be intending to complete their treatment. Once the eggs become ready at the end of stimulation period the couple travels to Cyprus for egg collection when the care is taken over by the CIC. Once the eggs are collected and fertilised, if the couple wishes to proceed with sex selection, they can then instruct the CIC to carry out PGD for gender selection on their embryos. This is usually done on the third day of the embryo's life.
By not legalising this process of PGD for gender selection (sex selection) for family balancing the current UK laws may be limiting our human rights one can argue. This was essentially the idea that was defended by Dr. Gillian Lockwood (seen on the left of the picture, sitting, facing the audience).
The opposing views were defended by Dr. Lucy Frith who suggested that families should love and be happy with their children regardless of their sex (seen on the right of the picture, sitting, facing the audience). The debate was chaired by Mr. Charles Kingsland, Consultant Gynaecologist from Liverpool (far right, facing the debators).
At the end of the debate Dr. Lockwood convinced more members of the audience to change their views and support her motion that PGD for sex selection (gender selection) for family balancing was a basic human right as opposed to Dr. Frith and won the debate. The whole Symposium and the debate was found to be very informative and stimulating by those attending.