The August 17, 2015, Wall Street Journal article “Fertility Clinics Let You Select Your Baby’s Sex: Parents with two or three children of one sex may want a child of the opposite sex” by Sumathi Reddy inspired me to further contemplate the genetic and pregnancy issues featured in my serialized dystopian sci fi story THE MOTHER SIEGE.
According to the Journal article:
Nonmedical sex selection is a controversial practice legal in only a few countries, including the U.S. and Mexico. Medical organizations and fertility specialists are split on the issue.
In THE MOTHER SIEGE, which takes place in 2049, the land mass west of the Mississippi River is controlled by the Provisional Government. There is risk-free sex — no more STDs and no more conception risks. All males are now sterilized at birth after a one-time mandatory “donation” collection for the national sperm bank.
Also in THE MOTHER SIEGE, medical costs are significantly reduced because all fertilized eggs are tested for a range of genetic diseases before implantation. Any diseases that cannot be tested before implantation or during gestation are dealt with at birth — by “eliminating” that newborn.
While now in 2015 preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD is being done to screen for specific inherited genetic diseases, the question of gender choice is an important one that I did not deal with in the future society of THE MOTHER SIEGE.
Currently this choice described by the Journal article is expensive, thus making it not available to a very large population.
But in my dystopian society, since all preimplantation fertilized eggs are tested, should the mothers (husbands/fathers are no longer in the picture) be able to choose the gender?
To choose or not to choose?
Thinking about this after reading the Journal article, I decided that the Provisional Government in THE MOTHER SIEGE would not allow this.
The Provisional Government would not want to worry about an imbalance in society created by a preference for either girls or boys. And on the other hand, if the Provisional Government ever felt the need to have more of either gender, the Provisional Government’s pregnancy doctors could secretly be directed as to which gender to favor.
In conclusion, while THE MOTHER SIEGE is fiction, I suspect this topic of gender choice will have to be dealt with in real life sooner than later (especially if the cost of PGD is greatly reduced). And that may mean heated debates on this topic in the fields of ethics as well as economics among others.
Any thoughts on which side of this question you find yourself?
P.S. I’m now writing a prequel story to THE MOTHER SIEGE: THE UPHEAVAL starts 20 years earlier in 2029 when the mother protagonist of THE MOTHER SIEGE is age 16 and the world she knows changes in an instant.
© 2015 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY, as well as newly written books not yet published. She can be reached at email@example.com