Belgian gynecologist was fined for gender selection during IVF

Belgian authorities have fined a gynecologist, who had been offering to select baby's sex for an additional payment during IVF. There were 165 couples ready to pay to the specialist to "order" a child with a particular gender. The doctor made the procedures in his illegal laboratory guaranteed success in 80% of cases. Ostensibly, he used a special technology that included "the separation of female X chromosomes in sperm cells in a centrifuge from the male Y-chromosome" (to be honest I slightly imagine the way it can be done). After that women were entered the "right" sperm. In the interview to journalists a gynecologist, said: "I had no idea that doing something illegal."



First of all, I won’t exclude that we are talking about an ordinary fraud. I know only one technology that can reliably determine the sex of the baby: PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnostics). Secondly, the sperm selection technology in the way it is described (unless, of course, the journalist did not messed up something), seems like quackery.

And finally, I am very confused by the 80-percent guarantee: means that there is always 20% left, which can be attributed to the birth of a child "unordered" gender.

However, if we take a message on trust, then we can say the following: gender selection is banned in Belgium since 2007, as well as in Holland, from where the majority of patients came. The only exceptions are cases when there is a high risk of a transmission to the child inherited diseases from one of the parents.

Worth noting that there are more people now who want to recourse to this procedure: news from Spain was recently discussed, where one of the private clinics started to collect signatures for the legalization of methods providing gender selection. It’s not difficult to understand the logics behind of this initiative: you can get pretty good money (1500-2000 euro) from each who wants to "order" a sex of the child, and do a nice PR company for the clinic attracting patients from countries where such techniques are strictly prohibited.

But do not forget about the demographic the problems that this practice can cause: it is already being said by scientists that quantity of female babies is reducing in some countries (which is particularly caused by such phenomenon as "selective abortion" when women terminate their pregnancies, learning that they are hatching girl). As a consequence, experts say, it is anticipated a shortage of female population within a few decades, and procedures with the gender planning will probably only aggravate these problems. Therefore, I believe that the law quite reasonably suppresses "gender" selection: there is no need to do it just for the sake of a whim. It should be allowed only for medical reasons, and after the compulsory conclusion of a clinical geneticist.