Seventh, and finally, technology might not be the problem but the solution to high sex ratios and sex discrimination. As pointed out in the article, the sex ratios of first born children in China are “within the bounds of normality.” The same applies to India. It is only the sex ratio for the second, third or fourth child that is severely distorted. This means that first-born daughters are not discriminated against. Or, as Monica Das Gupta put it: they are “treated the same as their brothers.” Consequently, the article goes on to say: “The rule seems to be that parents will joyfully embrace a daughter as their first child. But they will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that subsequent children are sons.” Given that Indian and Chinese parents have strong religious and economic incentives for having boys, their preferences are entirely rational.
What to do? Dahl suggests that sex-selection technology should not be entirely banned, but should, rather, be legal for couples who already have at least one daughter. This involves some intervention by the state to reduce the scale of the problem but imposes only a minimal restriction of the parents' freedom. They cannot use the technology for a first child, or for the second child if the first child is a son. But a family with one or more girls can thereafter use the technology if they so wish.
Perhaps there are other approaches, and JET welcomes good articles on topics such as this. Leaving aside the situation in Asia, I must say that I find bans on sex selection technology in developed countries incomprehensible. The research to date suggests no reason to think this technology would lead to a skewing of sex ratios in, say, Australia. On that basis, it seems apparent to me that the wishes of parents should prevail.