Saturday, June 15

More Couples Demanding Fertility Clinics to Let Them Choose the Sex of Their Child

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new trend is sweeping the nation: a growing number of couples are utilizing fertility centers. However, not all of these couples are looking for help conceiving. More and more fertile couples are now visiting fertility centers with hopes of being able to control the sex of their future child.

Only 7.4 million women, or 11.9% of women, have ever received any fertility services in their lifetime. Most men and women who visit fertility centers have difficulty conceiving. However, more and more fertile couples are now visiting these medical centers seeking out so-called “family balancing” services.

The process that is being used in these cases is known as in vitro fertilization (IVF). During the IVF treatment, the woman’s egg is met with the male’s sperm outside of the womb, and then inserted into the womb once fertilization is complete. This process can cost thousands of dollars, and has no guarantee for success.

More fertile couples are undergoing this process, with the addition of genetic testing for the embryo. The test, known as a pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, is most commonly used to test for any genetic diseases that may develop in the embryo. However, it can also be used to identify the embryo’s sex.

“The growth part of our practice at this point is in fact the segment of the population that technically doesn’t have fertility problems,” says Daniel Potter, medical director of HRC Fertility in Southern California. Today, non-medical sex selection is only considered a controversial practice in a few selecting countries, including the U.S. and Mexico.

“If people want to avail themselves of the technology, why not?” says Joel Batzofin, medical director of New York Fertility Services. He reports that about 20% of his patients come for non-medical sex selection. “They’re not hurting anyone. They’re paying for it.”

All patients who undergo the IVF process, for whatever reason, should be given extensive counseling on the potential risks. This includes a slight increase for breast or ovarian cancers, or birthing a child with a disability.

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