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Many American women would choose their baby's sex

21 March 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 300

A survey of 561 American women undergoing treatment for infertility shows that 41 per cent would choose the sex of their baby, if sex selection was offered at no additional cost. However, it seems that any fears about sex selection causing gender imbalances are unfounded, say the researchers, as the women said they would choose boys and girls in almost equal numbers. The research is published in the March issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Of the 561 women surveyed, 229 said they would choose to select the sex of their future child. Forty-five per cent of the women had no children and 48 per cent had children all of one sex. Of the women who said they would choose to select the sex of their child, 55 per cent would choose a sperm separation technique, while 41 per cent would choose PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis). Four per cent of the women said they would use neither technique. The research showed that women who had no children already were almost evenly split over whether they would choose boys or girls. In addition, women with only daughters would select a male child while women with only sons would select a female child. Half of the women who wanted sex selection at no cost said they would still choose to select the sex of their next child even if they had to pay.

Sex selection for non-medical reasons is controversial in the US and elsewhere. Both the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose its use and the President's Council on Bioethics has expressed concerns over the issue. However, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has said that it supports sex selection for non-medical reasons such as family balancing, provided the methods used are proved to be safe and effective. In the UK, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) ruled in 2003 that parents should not be allowed to choose the sex of their babies.

Lead researcher Tarun Jain, of the University of Illinois, Chicago, said that 'sex selection is a topic that's almost taboo for physicians to talk about', adding that 'prior to this study, there has been no data to indicate what the demand might be'. He continued: 'As the techniques gain more popularity, physicians will have to decide if they will offer the procedure to patients with and without children'. On the fear that sex selection would inevitably create a gender imbalance, Jain said the 'presumption is a preference for boys', adding 'but our study did not show that. In fact, in patients who did not have children there was no greater desire for boys over girls'.

Many Infertile Women Want to Choose Baby's Gender
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Preimplantation sex selection demand and preferences in an infertility population
Fertility and Sterility |  03/05
Sex selection popular among infertile women
Medical News Today |  11 March 2005
17 February 2006 - by BioNews 
A new study carried out at the University of Illinois in Chicago shows that most people would not choose the sex of their baby, if given the option. The findings, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, are based on an online survey of 1,197 men and women aged between...
7 November 2005 - by BioNews 
A new UK study of peoples' attitudes towards social sex selection has found that 80 per cent believe that parents should not be allowed to choose their baby's sex, even for 'family balancing' reasons. The researchers, based at the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Unit at Newcastle University, questioned 48...
31 October 2005 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
Allowing parents to select embryos purely on the basis of their sex is one of the most controversial uses of reproductive technology, and usually one that generates plenty of press coverage every time it's mentioned. Not so last week, however, when the journal Nature reported on (and press-released) details of...
28 October 2005 - by BioNews 
A new US trial will look at the social effects of allowing parents to choose whether they have a baby girl or boy. The study, based at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, will follow up babies born following the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to choose...
1 July 2005 - by BioNews 
A company in the United States has begun marketing a kit which allows women to discover the sex of their baby as early as five weeks into the pregnancy. Currently, expectant mothers can get a good idea of their baby's sex with a routine ultrasound at around 16 weeks, but...
14 March 2005 - by BioNews 
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19 January 2004 - by BioNews 
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12 November 2003 - by BioNews 
Almost a year after the launch of a public consultation on sex selection, the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has announced its recommendations to Government, which include a continuation of the current ban on sex selection for non-medical reasons. The consultation document asked whether people in the UK...
12 November 2003 - by Juliet Tizzard 
Today the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has launched the outcome of a year-long enquiry into sex selection. The main recommendation of the HFEA's report, 'Sex selection: options for regulation', is that the existing ban on sex selection for social reasons be upheld. Given that the HFEA already regulates the...
8 October 2003 - by Dr David King 
Sex selection is the exercise of sexism at the most profound level, choosing who gets born, and which types of lives are preferred. In traditional-patriarchal societies, such as in India and China, the preference for boys has led to huge imbalances in the sex ratio in the population. In western...
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