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Sperm Sorting

opinionated Essay
2801 words
2801 words
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Sperm Sorting

Humans have tried for some time to determine the gender of their child while it is still in the womb. Craving sweets or a slower heart rate means you’ll be having a baby girl. Eating a lot of salty foods, having an especially active baby or carrying your baby low means it’s time to start painting the baby’s room blue1. Advances in science have moved us beyond these old wives’ tales and allowed us to exactly determine the gender of a child before it is born through the use of an ultrasound. A major decision for most people currently is if you want to know what gender your baby will be before it is born. While some are making that choice, others are choosing their child’s gender. I intend to address how this is possible, and if allowing such a choice is ethical.

A significant change in gender determination is in progress. Many people are worried about the possibilities that eugenics will bring, including the possibility of gender determination through DNA modification. What these people are overlooking is, gender selection is already in use, and DNA modification is not necessary. Three hundred babies have already had their gender predetermined in the United States through the use of a process called sperm sorting2.

Sperm sorting was initially developed as a means to regulate the gender of offspring in cattle. Sperm sorting is achieved through exploitation of the size difference between the X and Y chromosome. The X and Y chromosome are those that will determine the gender of an offspring. The egg of a female contains two X chromosomes, and each sperm from the male contains either an X or a Y. If the sperm that inseminates the egg contains a Y chromosome the egg will mature into a male, if the sperm that inseminates the egg contains an X, the egg will mature into a female. The X chromosome is approximately three times as large as the Y chromosome.

Early methods of sperm sorting took advantage of the weight difference that is a result of their size difference. A sample of sperm was collected in a test tube, and then spun in a centrifuge, which separates the sample by weight. The X sperm will be at the very bottom of the tube while the Y sperm will be closer to the top. The major problem with this method is the high rate of speed at which the centrifuge spins in order to separate the sperm causes many collisions.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that utilitarianism is based on creating the most good while producing the least amount of harm.
  • Opines that a rights perspective focuses on the rights of individuals and eliminates the possibility of banning all sperm sorting.
  • Argues that a fairness perspective focuses on the equal distribution of benefits and burdens among all people.
  • Argues that banning sperm sorting would equally distribute benefits and burdens on society due to the inherently unequal distribution of wealth.
  • Opines that sperm sorting will affect population distribution in the world, and that eliminating chromosome-carrying genetic disorders enhances the common good.
  • Argues that a virtue perspective would address what decision we could make that would best develop positive moral virtues.
  • Argues that kant's categorical imperative tells us to act in a manner that we would wish to become law for everyone.
  • Opines that sperm sorting is harmless at face value, to have tremendous beneficial potential, and should be made available to as many people as possible.
  • Opines that sperm sorting should be allowed in cases where it can be used to prevent a genetic defect.
  • Describes the rapid analysis of single marine cells by flow cytometry by p.h. burkill.
  • Explains burkill, p.h., and mantoura, r.f.c. the rapid analysis of single marine cells by flow cytometry.
  • Explains that old wives' tales won't predict the sex of your baby.
  • Explains that sperm sorting is based on the size difference between the x and y chromosomes, which determine the gender of an offspring.
  • Explains the use of flow cytometry for sperm sorting, which is currently operated by the genetics & ivf institute in fairfax, virginia.
  • Explains human genetics alert campaign briefing on the case against sex selection.
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