Could Early Gender Detection Result in More Sex-Selective Abortions?

Early Sex Determination TestTwo items regarding a baby’s sex hit the news over the past few weeks: Tests that determine a fetus’ sex at seven weeks, and preference by adult males in the United States for boy babies over girls. These coinciding news stories bring up one issue: Could sex-selective abortions become just as common in the United States as they are in India and China?

According to a recent Gallup poll, young American men between the ages of 18 and 29 prefer to have a boy baby over a girl by a 40- to 28-percent margin. At the same time, however, asking males exclusively about the sex of a future child is only one part of an argument for potential growing sex-selective abortions in the United States. Women’s perspectives need to be taken into account and will likely end up with different figures for the preference of a baby’s sex.

At the same time, such tests came to national attention recently. While only available through private companies in the United States at the moment, such tests can determine a fetus’ gender at seven weeks and are 95-percent accurate. Unlike standard home pregnancy tests, however, those for determining a baby’s gender use blood and are sent to a lab for testing.

But, why is finding out a child’s sex so early important? While some parents and potential parents clearly have preferences, these tests are ultimately helpful in determining the possibility of a child carrying sex-linked genetic diseases, such as hemophilia.

Such tests are available over the counter in some countries, with the exception of India and China. Additionally, these tests accurately reveal a child’s sex several weeks before an ultrasound or amniocentesis is performed.

Do you think that such tests for determining the gender of a child at seven weeks will result in a growing number of sex-selective abortions in the United States?

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