University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
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Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

 Designer Babies

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.


 Assisted reproduction


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NOT RATED name 23-05-13 17:43
if they wanted a girl for fifteen years, they should have treated the boys as if they were girls, like getting them bras and stuff. paying for breast implants. some plastic surgery

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