The Masterton family – choosing a boy or girl The Masterton family come from near Dundee, Scotland. They had five children: four boys and last of all a little girl, named Nicole. In the Autumn of 1999, while out in the garden, a tragic accident occurred. Alan Masterton, the dad, said “We were burning some leaves and debris in the garden of our home, Nicole appeared from nowhere and was caught by a lick of flame from the fire ... the fire caught her clothing and she suffered terrible burns. We got her into a bath of freezing water almost instantly but the damage had been done. Our precious angel lost her fight for life 61 days later at the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh. She was aged three years and seven months, we miss her every hour of every day.” In 2004 the family decided that they wanted to have another child. As they already had 4 boys and had so enjoyed having a girl in the family, they wanted to choose to have a girl. Alan and Louise Masterton applied for permission to allow doctors and scientist, using the PGD technique, to make sure they would only have a girl. This is an extract from an interview with Alan and Louise Masterton: *ALAN:* What brought us to this position we're at now was after a couple of months after we lost Nicole, and we were still in a state of shock, in fact I think we'll be in shock for the rest of our lives. *LOUISE:* Absolutely. *ALAN:* The loss of a child isn't something you get over. *LOUISE:* You have to put a brave face on every day. *ALAN:* We felt that Nicole brought two separate things to our family, she brought her own personality, her own individual idiosyncrasies and also she brought a female dimension to the family. That's the only way I can describe it. It's basically how she interacted with her brothers, how she interacted with us, her parents, and how the boys interacted with her - how they looked after her.... *LOUISE:* When they got their pocket money, they would always buy her a wee bag of sweets. It was because she was a sister, they would never have done it for a wee brother. *ALAN:* That's an example of the female dimension. Every one of the brothers was protective towards her. They wouldn't have harmed her. What do you think about the parents wanting to select only a baby girl? Should the parents by allowed to select their baby so that it is definitely a girl? What would happen if they did get permission? What would happen to the Masterton’s if they did not get permission. If the UK authorities did give permission to the Masterton’s family to select a girl, what might happen in the future? If they did get permission, would their baby girl grow up just like any other? What happened? Alan and Louise Masterton were not given permission to go ahead with choosing to have a baby girl by the UK authorities. The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority said the status quo, which only allows sex selection for strictly medical reasons, should remain. The decision followed a year-long public consultation, which suggested 80% of people were against selection. HFEA chairman Suzi Leather said there was a "huge public consensus" against allowing parents to select a child's sex, unless it was to protect against disease. "The public view was really that great value should be put on the unconditional nature of parental love," she told the BBC. Extract from BBC News 12th November 2003 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/health/3257893.stm) The ruling has been widely welcomed by doctors. When Alan and Louise Masterton were not given permission to go ahead with choosing to have a baby girl by the UK authorities, they were terribly disappointed. " This ... forces people like ourselves abroad " Alan Masterton A friend gave them the money to go abroad to Italy, where the rules are different and do allow parents to select a boy or a girl in some circumstances. They completed three rounds of IVF, but only male embryos were created, which they donated to other couples. They have not had another baby.