A survey of American IVF clinics has found that almost half of them offer sex selection. Overall, sex selection of embryos accounted for 9% of all embryo screenings in 2005. These embryo screenings happen in about 1 in 20 IVF pregnancy attempts.
This surprised bioethicists. “That’s really startling,” said Arthur Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania. “Family balancing seems like a morally persuasive reason to some people,” but doing gender selection just because a couple doesn’t want any girls, or any boys, is troubling, he said.
The US is one of the few countries in the world in which sex selection is not banned. Even China — officially — has banned sex selection. forty-two per cent of American clinics offering pre- implantation genetic diagnosis have provided PGD for “non-medical sex selection”. About half will do whatever the parents wish, but the other half set conditions: 41% will only provide such a service for a second or subsequent child.
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