Sex selection means choosing the sex of a future child, either before or after conception. In most of the world, it is used to promote the birth of boys, which exacerbates discrimination against girls and women. Prenatal screening followed by sex-selective abortion is still the primary means of ensuring sons, and has created lopsided sex ratios in countries such as India and China. New technologies such as sperm sorting and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which provide additional ways to select sex, are being openly promoted in the United States.
Sex selection raises concerns about exacerbating sex discrimination and violence against women, and normalizing the "selection" and "design" of children. The use and marketing of sex selection technologies are largely unregulated in the United States. Although the ongoing attacks on abortion rights complicate efforts to address even pre-pregnancy methods, a number of countries—including Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom—prohibit "social" sex selection without affecting abortion rights.
Table: National policies
The Table shows policies currently in effect regarding Sex selection.
- PROHIBITED: This practice is prohibited by national law or policies having the force of law.
- no policy: This practice is not addressed by national law or policies having the force of law.
- ?: It is unknown whether this practice is addressed by national law or policies having the force of law.
Note: The categories defined in the key and used in the table characterize the polices in any given country in a broad manner. Consult the page for each country for more detailed accounts of current policies.
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