Gender Selection Techniques and Laws

In this article you will read about:

  • Ethical Issues of Sex Selection 

  • Technologies for Sex Selection 

  • Laws for Gender Selection

Gender or sex selection is the medical practice that uses different techniques to purposely determine the gender of the child. This practice includes a few different methods of choosing the gender such as separating sperm, selecting embryos for transfer and implantation during IVF, and selectively ending a pregnancy if the offspring is not of the preferred gender. 

Sex selection overlays with multiple ethical, legal, and social concerns and debates. A significant moral issue is that sex choice for non-clinical reasons adds to sex separation, especially against ladies. 

Before delving into the specifics of gender selection, it might be beneficial to explore the Reproductive System and familiarize yourself with the broader scope of Fertility Treatment.

They are three principal explanations behind sex determination: 

  • Clinical reasons, for instance, forestalling the introduction of kids influenced or in danger of X-connected sicknesses. 
  • Family adjusting reasons, when couples want to have offspring of specific sex since they have kids of the other sex.
  • Cultural or social gender preference favors male offspring because limits reproduction to one child, as it was in China, or societies that are based on the male workforce, the men being the ones who financially will support the whole family. 

Baby Gender Selection
Ethical Issues of Sex Selection 

The act of sex choice for different reasons than medical ones strikes a ton of moral issues, the fundamental one disrupting the natural sex proportion prompting a gender disbalance, and strengthening unfair and misogynist stereotypes towards women by depreciating females.

In some countries, such as India and China, sex selection has created a gender disbalance in favor of males, which can lead to sex discrimination and psychological burdens for inequalities among children, with a natural gender disbalance. 

Genetic Technologies for Sex Selection 


This sex-determination method depends on sperm partition of X-from Y-chromosome-bearing sperm using as the direction the slight contrasts in weight. The isolated sperm is utilized to fertilize the egg, in vitro or in vivo (for ex: through planned impregnation techniques). The first child conceived from sorted human sperm bearing the X chromosome was brought into the world in 1995 out of a family that was conveying the illness hydrocephalus which is X-connected. By 2004, in the USA 419 youngsters were conceived by utilizing the sperm separation technique. 76% of children utilizing Y-enriched sperm were male, and 91% of children utilizing X-enriched sperm were female. In the US where sex selection by sperm separation is just accessible for clinical or family adjusting reasons, 90% of couples were using this technique for family adjusting reasons and 80% of these couples wanted daughters. 

Baby Gender Selection
Postfertilizaton and Pretransfer 

Presently, the most accurate methods for gender selection are restricted to post-fertilization ones. The method of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), used in assisted reproduction before transferring the embryos during IVF, grants blastomere biopsy of at least one cell from a growing embryo at the cleavage or blastocyst stage to determine the sex.

Compared to sperm sorting, PGD provides almost 100% accuracy for selecting either gender. PGD requires in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is why this practice of sex selection has been mainly used by couples that carry X-linked illnesses.  As an example, approximately 50% of boys born to mothers who carry hemophilia will suffer from this condition. Because of this, women chose female embryos during IVF. 


Gender selection by finding out the sex during pregnancy and ending it before term, if the offspring isn't of the desired gender, has been used since the 1970s. The postimplantation methods to know the sex while pregnant are ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and amniocentesis. In addition, karyotyping of fetal cells gives information about gender. These methods of gender selection, and selective abortion between eight and twenty weeks of pregnancy, are the most commonly used methods of sex selection. 

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Laws for Gender Selection

Sex selection is legal in most countries of the world. Fertility tourism from the UK, Australia, and Canada, to the US for gender selection, is popular because preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which can be used for sex selection, is not allowed, except to screen for genetic illnesses, while the laws in the USA are more forbidding in this subject. 

Gender selection is forbidden in China, but the practice is still widely done, especially in rural parts of the country and in lawless groups such as ghettoized migrant workers in cities. 

Sex selection is illegal in India as well as ultrasound for sex determination. These laws were instituted to fight against sex-selective abortion. However, the regulations failed to control selective abortion in villages and this practice is still done in small parts of India.

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