An ad in a Canadian newspaper offering sex selection is causing an ethical stir. The “pre-conception gender determination” offer is made by a Washington state fertility clinic to Indo-Canadians. The clinic claims to perform biopsies on embryos prior to in vitro fertilization, using DNA to determine gender and then implanting only male embryos in the mother’s uterus.
"A lot of times, girls are fighting for their lives before they're even born," said SabrinaAtwal, a project director with the Indo-Canadian Women's Association in Edmonton, in the Calgary Herald.
A Gallup Poll last year found Americans prefer boys. Of 1,020 respondents to the question regarding whether they’d prefer a boy or girl if they could choose, 40 percent said they’d pick a boy, 28 percent would choose a girl, and the rest didn’t have a preference.
A sonogram will usually tell you if you have a boy or a girl in the womb, but they typically aren't done until around 18 weeks. A home fetus gender test kit from a New Zealand company created controversy in 2009, with some people concerned that if parents know the gender of a fetus early on, they might be spurred to seek an abortion.
The ability to test embryos for sex was originally developed to screen for genetic diseases, according to the Calgary Herald. Among people approaching a clinic that developed the process years ago, more than half were parents who had a daughter and wanted a son, the newspaper’s website reports.