A clinical trial into the effects of allowing couples to choose the sex of their babies has been given the go-ahead at a US fertility clinic. The controversial study was given the green light by an ethics committee after nine years of consultation. The purpose of the study is to find out how cultural notions, family values and gender issues feed into a couple's desire to choose the gender of their child.
Doctors often analyze embryos for genetic defects, some of which are more common in boys or girls. But in the Baylor study, up to 200 couples going through in vitro fertilization will be allowed to pick either male or female embryos, so researchers can better understand their motivation, ABC News reports.
Fertility specialists at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas have already received 50 inquiries from couples about joining the trial, according to the journal Nature today. Only couples who have already had one child and want another of the opposite sex are eligible. As well as assessing the factors that contribute to a couple's decision to select the sex of their next baby, doctors will monitor the health of the children and any social issues that arise in their families as they grow up, according to Guardian Unlimited.
This year the House of Commons science and technology committee issued a report suggesting sex selection should be made available in Britain, but several members of the committee strongly disagreed and attacked the final report for being too liberal. A.M.