Pregnant women can find out the sex of their baby almost as soon as they realise they are pregnant with a new, non-invasive test which they can do themselves at home. The test, called Baby Gender Mentor, is meant for “the type of woman who can’t wait to open Christmas presents,” says Sherry Bonelli, of Mommy’s Thinkin’, the company which is marketing the US$275 test over the internet. Women prick their fingers to get a blood sample, send it to a lab and get the news within two days. The company claims that the test is 99.9 per cent accurate.
The test worries bioethicists because it makes cheap sex selection possible. “The sex test is very controversial because it’s not clear that you want to broadly facilitate the ability of people to sex- select embryos at a very early stage,” says Dr Charles R. Cantor, a scientist who is working on diagnostic tests “It’s potentially abusable.”
Although most experts think that Americans are not likely to abort children because they are the “wrong” sex, other cultures certainly are. Sex selection, normally using portable ultrasound equipment, is so common in India, China and South Korea that it is upsetting the natural sex ratio and creating a shortage of girls. The manufacturers of the kit are willing to ship it outside the US. With FedEx express service for international clients, the turn-around is five days, it says.
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