The Ethical Issues
Case Study 3: The Masterton Family
In a tragic bonfire accident in 1999, Alan and Louise Masterton lost their youngest child, three-year-old Nicole. Devastated by their loss, the Mastertons, who have four sons, argued that whilst they were not seeking to replace Nicole, they had been trying for a daughter for fifteen years. Louise Masterton had been sterilised after the birth of Nicole and needed IVF to have another child. The Mastertons wanted the HFEA to allow them to undergo IVF treatment and select a female embryo using embryo biopsy. They argued that their family had a strong psychological need for a daughter. However, the HFEA will only consider an issue if a clinic applies to them for a licence. The Mastertons could not find a UK clinic that was prepared to take up the case on their behalf and so sought treatment in Italy instead. However, only one male embryo was produced, and this was donated to an infertile couple.
For more information, see the BBC article here:
List the ethical arguments for and against the use of embryo biopsy for sex selection, giving examples of hypothetical circumstances in which it might, or might not be acceptable.