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UK couple choose IVF girls abroad

30 June 2003
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 214

A UK woman who travelled to Valencia, Spain to conceive a female child using in IVF is pregnant with twin girls. Nicola Chenery, who already has four sons, underwent fertility treatment and embryo testing to ensure that she conceived a female child. Determining the sex of embryos created using IVF is illegal in the UK, unless it is to avoid a serious gender-linked condition such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which usually only affects boys.

Embryo sex selection is permitted in Spain for family balancing, as well as for medical reasons. Ms Chenery, who is now 17 weeks pregnant, underwent a previous unsuccessful attempt to conceive a baby girl at the Spanish clinic in January. She is now reported to be 'delighted' and cannot understand why the procedure is banned in Britain. 'I have always wanted to experience the mother-daughter relationship, which is totally different to the mother-son relationship, and I feel as I can, then why not?', she said.

Josephine Quintavalle, of the pro-life pressure group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE), criticised the decision, saying that the choice of a child's gender should be left to nature. 'This so-called family balancing is creeping in and it is a dangerous path to go down' she said, adding that 'we were sold IVF as a way of helping infertile couples but now it's for designing the child that we want'. A spokesman for the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said that the watchdog body was due to make new recommendations to the government on the issue of sex selection in the autumn.

Mother pregnant with girls after IVF sex selection
The Guardian |  28 June 2003
Twin girls for mother of four boys who always wanted a daughter
The Daily Telegraph |  28 June 2003
Woman pregnant after IVF sex choice
BBC News Online |  27 June 2003
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