Genetic selection in IVF: Playing God or fair game?

Hollywood couple Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are in the midst of learning an epic lesson about parenting.

The pair haven’t actually welcomed their first child yet. But, owing to Chrissy’s candid nature when talking about their baby’s conception, they’re copping a lot of flak. It’s all because she was honest enough to admit that she really wanted a baby girl – and so she engineered her pregnancy to make that happen.

Chrissy and John had turned to IVF to conceive after they had trouble getting pregnant naturally. Chrissy purposefully chose to implant a specific female embryo, one that she says she selected as she felt “John would be the best father to a little girl”.


“I’ve made this decision. Not only am I having a girl, but I picked the girl from her little embryo,” she tells People magazine.

“I think he deserves a little girl. I think he deserves that bond. A boy will come along. We’ll get there too, so it’s not like we really have to pick. But he definitely is very lucky to have a little girl. And this girl is going to be so completely lucky to have John as her papa – it’s crazy!”

She’s been slammed on social media for her comments, with people claiming she’s “playing God”.

I have to admit, I’m a massive fence sitter on this issue but there is a ring of truth to that statement.

Gender selection is illegal in Australia and for good reason. Perhaps it has its place as a last resort, in those rare cases where a serious genetic disorder could be passed down to one gender and not the other, but even then you’re denying life to someone who could potentially lead a meaningful existence regardless of a potential illness or setback.

In simplistic terms, IVF in any form is “playing God”. At the same time, the fact that we’re able to give barren couples the ability to become parents with a helping hand from science is mindboggling in the most positive and incredible way.

But does gender selection enter into a whole new, morally ambiguous grey area?

And what’s next? If we are one day able to pre-screen for preferable genetic features and attributes, like hair colour, skin type or intelligence, what kind of Gattica-style Pandora’s Box could that open?!

Chrissy has responded to the hub-bub on Twitter, writing, “I said it so casually because I’m just open. I’m around so many open-minded people & forgot it’s controversial.”

One thing she’ll learn quick smart: when you’re a parent with a high profile, every decision you make has the potential to be controversial.

Her lesson from this mini-scandal? Keep your trap shut unless you want to hear everyone’s opinion on what you’re doing – because almost every man and his dog will weigh in on your parenting choices if you give them half a chance.

The Meddler

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