Two seemingly-related news stories popped up on the internet at the same time: One about detecting a fetus’ gender early through a home test, and another about young men preferring to have a male child over a girl. While in intention the early sex determining tests are used for detecting sex-linked genetic conditions, some predict that they could be used for sex-selective abortions in the United States.
Able to tell parents the sex of their child weeks before an ultrasound or amniocentesis is performed, this home test is 95-percent accurate in revealing a baby’s gender at just seven weeks. While knowing the sex of a baby months beforehand is convenient, the test is often performed for eliminating the possibility that the child is carrying a sex-linked genetic disease, such as hemophilia. Such a test can be purchased over the counter in a few countries but, because of the commonness of sex-selective abortions, is banned in India and China.
In the United States, the test is available through private companies and, unlike an at-home pregnancy test, requires a blood sample, which is then sent to a lab. At some point, however, this type of test could be available over the counter.
A recent Gallup poll of men 18 to 29 years of age has caused some concerns in regards to the usage of such tests. The males surveyed said they preferred to have a boy child over a girl by a 40- to 28-percent margin. Some think that tests for determining the sex of a fetus early could be used for sex-selective abortions in the United States and, over time, may lead to a drastic imbalance of genders, which both China and India are currently experiencing. At the same time, the preference of the mother needs to be put into perspective, and women’s opinions could balance out the Gallup poll’s results.