March 5, 2024

Is sex selection becoming another option in the US

Los Angeles Times article fails to question ethical issue

Sex selection is becoming normalised in the US, claims Slate columnist
William Saletan. He was commenting on a feature
in the Los Angeles Times about
parents whose mail-order sex selection tests erred. If the test had produced the
"wrong" result, abortion had clearly been an option. "The very idea of elective
prenatal sex-testing used to be controversial, especially in light of rampant
sex-selective abortion in Asia," writes Saletan. "Now these tests are being
bought, used, and reported just like any other prenatal test. The couples who
use them are described just as sympathetically. The problem [in the eyes of the
journalist] isn’t that they’re screening their offspring for sex. The problem is
that in doing so they’re being thwarted by flawed technology and exaggerated

A number of companies have been marketing home sex-determination kits. The
expecting mother sends a blood sample to the company and the results are mailed
back to her, at a cost of about US$300. Critics say that the tests are often
wrong, but that the parents are too delighted with their bundle of joy to demand
a refund. However, more than 100 women have joined a class action suit against
one company, Acu-Gen.

One woman, Anissa Iverson, an office manager for Disney Studios, told the
LA Times how much she had mourned after she delivered a boy instead of a
girl. She had already purchased, washed and folded more than $500 worth of
clothing for a daughter, to be named Sydney. Her second child was a girl, but
she didn’t have the heart to use the name. "I felt like Sydney had died," she
said. "It was a tainted name."

As Saletan points out, sex selection is fast becoming socially acceptable.
"Eventually, we’ll establish rules to ensure the safety and efficacy of fetal
sex tests. At that point, we’ll declare them adequately regulated. That’s how a
taboo begins to die." ~ Slate, Feb 25; Los Angeles Times, Feb 24