Sex selection

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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.

You can click the icon in any column heading to sort by that column. To sort the other direction, click it again.

Country Region Sex selection
Afghanistan Asia
Albania Europe
Algeria Africa
Andorra Europe
Angola Africa
Antigua and Barbuda Latin America
Argentina Latin America
Armenia Asia
Australia Oceania
Austria Europe
Azerbaijan Asia
Bahamas Latin America
Bahrain Asia
Bangladesh Asia
Barbados Latin America
Belarus Europe
Belgium Europe
Belize Latin America
Benin Africa
Bhutan Asia
Bolivia Latin America
Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe
Botswana Africa
Brazil Latin America
Brunei Asia
Bulgaria Europe
Burkina Faso Africa
Burundi Africa
Cambodia Asia
Cameroon Africa
Canada Northern America
Cape Verde Africa
Central African Republic Africa
Chad Africa
Chile Latin America
China Asia Social uses prohibited
Colombia Latin America No policy
Comoros Africa
Cook Islands Oceania
Costa Rica Latin America ?
Croatia Europe
Cuba Latin America
Cyprus Asia
Czech Republic Europe
Côte d'Ivoire Africa
Democratic Republic of the Congo Africa
Denmark Europe
Djibouti Africa
Dominica Latin America
Dominican Republic Latin America
Ecuador Latin America
Egypt Africa
El Salvador Latin America
Equatorial Guinea Africa
Eritrea Africa
Estonia Europe
Ethiopia Africa
Fiji Oceania
Finland Europe
France Europe
Gabon Africa
Gambia Africa
Georgia Asia
Germany Europe
Ghana Africa
Greece Europe
Grenada Latin America
Guatemala Latin America
Guinea Africa
Guinea-Bissau Africa
Guyana Latin America
Haiti Latin America
Honduras Latin America
Hungary Europe
Iceland Europe
India Asia
Indonesia Asia
Iran Asia
Iraq Asia
Ireland Europe
Israel Asia
Italy Europe
Jamaica Latin America
Japan Asia
Jordan Asia
Kazakhstan Asia
Kenya Africa
Kuwait Asia
Kyrgyzstan Asia
Laos Asia
Latvia Europe
Lebanon Asia
Lesotho Africa
Liberia Africa
Libya Africa
Liechtenstein Europe
Lithuania Europe
Luxembourg Europe
Macedonia Europe
Madagascar Africa
Malawi Africa
Malaysia Asia
Maldives Asia
Mali Africa
Malta Europe
Marshall Islands Oceania
Mauritania Africa
Mauritius Africa
Mexico Latin America
Micronesia Oceania
Moldova Europe
Monaco Europe
Mongolia Asia
Montenegro Europe
Morocco Africa
Mozambique Africa
Myanmar Asia
Namibia Africa
Nauru Oceania
Nepal Asia
Netherlands Europe
New Zealand Oceania
Nicaragua Latin America
Niger Africa
Nigeria Africa
North Korea Asia
Norway Europe
Oman Asia
Pakistan Asia
Palau Oceania
Panama Latin America
Papua New Guinea Oceania
Paraguay Latin America
Peru Latin America
Philippines Asia
Poland Europe
Portugal Europe
Qatar Asia
Republic of the Congo Africa
Romania Europe
Russia Europe
Rwanda Africa
Saint Kitts and Nevis Latin America
Saint Lucia Latin America
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Latin America
Samoa Oceania
San Marino Europe Social uses prohibited
Sao Tome and Principe Africa
Saudi Arabia Asia
Senegal Africa
Serbia Europe
Seychelles Africa
Sierra Leone Africa
Singapore Asia
Slovakia Europe
Slovenia Europe
Solomon Islands Oceania
Somalia Africa
South Africa Africa
South Korea Asia
Spain Europe
Sri Lanka Asia
Sudan Africa
Suriname Latin America
Swaziland Africa
Sweden Europe
Switzerland Europe
Syrian Arab Republic Asia
Taiwan Asia
Tajikistan Asia
Tanzania Africa
Thailand Asia
Timor-Leste Asia
Togo Africa
Tonga Oceania
Trinidad and Tobago Latin America
Tunisia Africa
Turkey Asia
Turkmenistan Asia
Tuvalu Oceania
Uganda Africa
Ukraine Europe
United Arab Emirates Asia
United Kingdom Europe Social uses prohibited
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Europe ?
United States
United States of America Northern America
Uruguay Latin America
Uzbekistan Asia
Vanuatu Oceania
Venezuela Latin America
Vietnam Asia
Yemen Africa
Zambia Africa
Zimbabwe Africa
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