Ah, the ethics of medicine - this was what I signed up for!
With the days of sexual discrimination past (we hope), should gender really affect an individual throughout their life?
So the question is: what does gender determine?
Gender can determine career, may have an influence on paternal rights through custody of children and can pre-determine different diseases; but should we have a choice in it?
Take gender in medicine (no please, take it) - although it shouldn't still happen, women are still finding it difficult to become surgeons due to family commitments and potential prejudice. Figures from WIST (women in surgical training) highlight that while up to 70% of medical students at university are female, only 6% become surgeons.
Equally, it's unlikely for a male to work as a bra fitter due to gender (googling male bra fitter brought up some unusual links, so I can't help you out there I'm afraid).
In health, gender can have vast polar effects - men are far less likely to get breast cancer than women, and cannot get cervical cancer due to different anatomy. Equally, woman are unlikely to suffer such blatantly embarrassing effects through puberty as men, and are (obviously) not going to be susceptible to prostate and testicular cancer. It's a balance. Does the answer lie in hermaphroditic offspring?!
If you could choose for your child, which would you prefer to pre-determine them for through gender - breast cancer or prostate cancer? Would you want to be responsible for making that decision?
From a personal point of view - I know that I want a huge host of children, and that I would ideally like 1 boy and 5 girls. That doesn't mean I wouldn't be happy with 3 and 3 or 4 and 2. I would happily accept whatever I was given (although I may have to hurt 6 girls going through puberty!). I also would have to consider my own personal career plans. As a (potential) female hospital doctor will I have the time to raise a family, or will my career hit a wall due to my gender?
By chosing the gender of your child you would have to balance the potential effect of diseases and career prejudice (for example) for the rest of that child's life. Could you handle being responsible?
It's a balance, and a difficult decision, yet ultimately we should have the decision removed from us and let fate take its hand.
If we start with gender choice, where would we stop?
This post is an attempt to win a laptop at Lovetolead - please vote for me as I'm a poor student!
NB: the article is currently on the 'Yes' side, when it should actually be on the 'No' side - I'm hoping they will be able to change this for me!