Non-Medical Sex Selection by Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Reflections on Israeli Law and Practice

June 16, 2012

While technology enabling sex selection by Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (“PGD”) is not new, the debate surrounding it has not abated. A wide variety of models exist. Some countries leave the decision to the parents, while others strictly prohibit sex selection for non-medical purposes. The Israeli system uses a unique model whereby a professional committee is authorized to approve non-medical PGD sex selection when the birth of a child of a certain sex is shown to cause severe mental distress to the parents or to the child, and the parents already have at least four children of the same sex. This Article critically examines the Israeli approach and how the model has been implemented since 2005. Beyond the Israeli system, this Article engages in non-jurisdiction-specific theoretical and normative analysis. It suggests that the potential harm embedded in non-medical sex selection and its profound consequences on family relationships are fundamental and they must be taken into account when policy on the matter is set.