A top doctor has stated that there is an increase in British couples opting for fertility treatment in America as it allows them to choose the sex of their child.
Dr Daniel Potter runs a large American fertility clinic and said that he treats 10 Britons a month who want to have the treatment simply to be able to select their baby’s gender.
He said that 80% of couples are opting for a girl.
Dr Potter said the numbers of people travelling to other clinics across the U.S. are increasing by 20% annually.
Britain has banned sex selection unless it is done for medical reasons. A recent investigation found that there were doctors who were willing to authorise abortions based on the gender of the baby.
There has been a fear that sex selection would result in fewer girls being born because of cultural preferences.
Dr Potter said the increase in choosing girls is more often driven by the woman as she has identified with little girls since her childhood years. If they do not have a daughter, it is often treated like a death and they grieve for their little girl.
The patients at Dr Potter’s clinic are often not in need of fertility treatment to conceive, but undergo the process to allow for the screening of the embryo and the chosen sex can be transferred to the womb.
The process costs about $15,000 and needs a 12-day stay close to the clinic.
Dr Potter does not agree with pregnancy termination as a method of gender selection, but believes that he should not impose his values on others. He believes that females should have freedom in reproduction and that includes choosing their child’s gender. However, he stated that in countries such as Britain where the government pays for some instances of IVF, the taxpayers’ money should not be used so that people can choose the gender of their baby.
He said that some of his patients have travelled from the other side of the world and saved for a very long time to undergo the procedure and the choice is extremely important to them.
He stated that many of the arguments against sex selection using IVF were ‘absurd’ and focuses on ‘interfering with God’s will’, or sexual discrimination.
One in ten of his patients are seen for gender selection and the largest couple numbers from outside the US are from Canada, the UK and Australia, with most couples wanting a girl.
He receives patients from China who want a boy, but there are many who want twins, with one child of each sex.
One British patient, who already had two boys, opted to travel to America to undergo the procedure. Six healthy embryos were produced, three boys and three girls, and the remaining ones have been frozen. The procedure cost her and her partner £22000, but she stated that it was worth every penny.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority which is responsible for the regulation of fertility treatment in the UK did a review of sex selection during 1993 and again during 2002. Under the amended HFE Act which was enforced in 2009, sex selection for family balancing or social reasons is illegal.
Image Credit: Ⅿeagan