SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

No. 5 - Session 2003-2004

17 December 2003

SEX SELECTION - WHEN AND WHY?

A debate to launch an online consultation into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law

Thursday 22 January 2004, 10.30 am,

Dana Centre, Wellcome Wolfson Building, 165 Queen's Gate, London

Many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of choosing a child's sex, to balance a family for example. Is this a good reason for the state to interfere with the people's reproductive freedom, or are there dangers to the children themselves and/or society as a whole? The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority recently published a report recommending that sex selection should be allowed only to prevent serious disease. What is a serious disease? Is this the time to draw the line before the demand grows for so-called designer babies? Is a ban on social sex selection workable when the treatment is available overseas?

Chairman of the Committee, Dr Ian Gibson,  will introduce the discussion, jointly organised by the Science and Technology Committee and the British Association, and other Members of the Committee will take part. The event is open to all, and everyone will be encouraged to make their contribution to the discussion. Additional speakers will be announced in the New Year.

At the end of the event, an e-consultation, featuring issues such sex selection and many others, will go online at www.tellparliament.uk. The Hansard Society will act as independent moderators for the online forum. This will be  the first stage of a major inquiry by the Committee into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law.

To book your free place e-mail [email protected], visit www.the-ba.net/scicomm or call 020 7019 4940.

Further information on the inquiry and the work of the Committee can be obtained from Committee staff on 020 7219 2793/4, [email protected]

 Previous press notices and publications are available on the Committee's internet homepage: www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_and_technology_committee.cfm

Notes for Editors

•Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Committee is empowered to examine the 'expenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies'. The Committee was appointed on 12 November 2001.

•The Hansard Society is an independent organisation established to promote effective parliamentary democracy. The Hansard Society's Edemocracy Programme has pioneered methods of Parliamentary online discussion enabling citizens to feed their views and experiences into parliamentary discussion.

•The Committee's Inquiry into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law was announced on 24 October 2003, press notice no. 45, session 2002-03.