Infertility :: Infertile women want to choose baby’s gender

More than 2 out of 5 infertile women would use technology that enables them to choose the sex of their unborn babies if it were freely available, a survey shows.

Nearly one-half of women who wanted to use sex-selection technology did not have any children, a somewhat surprising finding, study author Dr. Tarun Jain told.

Jain explained that experts have suspected that most people want to use sex-selection technology in order to balance their families — if they have 3 boys for instance, they want to make sure the next child is a girl.

These findings suggest that for many people, choosing the sex of their baby has nothing to do with “family balancing,” Jain noted. “I hope our findings stimulate further discussions among policy makers and ethicists as to the appropriate use of this technology,” the University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago, researcher said.

Interestingly, infertile women with no children preferred boys and girls in equal numbers, Jain noted. It’s possible that women struggling to get pregnant may want to choose the sex of their baby to make sure they get what they want, the researcher said. “They may be thinking that they may only have one chance to have a child, and thus want it to be either a boy or girl.”

There are currently two techniques women can use to choose the sex of their unborn children, Jain and colleagues write in the journal Fertility and Sterility. As part of sperm separation, doctors divide sperm that carry female genetic material from sperm that carry male genetic material. This technique is between 60 and 90 percent successful, Jain said.

Alternatively, some couples use preimplantation genetic diagnosis, in which doctors test an early embryo to see if it’s male or female before implanting it into the woman’s uterus, which is nearly 100 percent accurate, Jain noted.

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