A new study has revealed that scientists have developed an IVF technique for parents to choose the sex of their baby
The researchers have said the technique is ‘very safe, efficient, inexpensive and ethically palatable’.
The research was led by Professor Gianpiero Palermo from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and is said to be 80 percent effective.
The findings were published in PLOS One and set out a technique to separate and select the sperm, meaning the sex of the embryo could be decided.
The sperm selection was made based on whether they contained an X chromosome (female) or a Y chromosome (male) and whether the X chromosome was heavier than Y.
The study wrote: “Although ethically debatable, expressing sex preference for offspring is popular among couples, and not limited to those undergoing fertility treatment.
“Our sex selection method does not increase the proportion of additional aneuploid embryos.
“Therefore, it can be regarded as extremely safe as well as efficient, inexpensive, and ethically palatable.”
The study was conducted with 1,317 couples split into two groups, with 105 men in the group in which the new technique was used.
The study said 59 couples in this group desired a female offspring and the technique resulted in just under 80 percent of female embryos.
In the US, there are no restrictions on using sex selection technology to choose the gender of a child.
But in the UK and many other countries across the world, it is banned apart from specific medical circumstances.
But many professors and medical experts have expressed concern over the new study and sex selection in general.
One professor who spoke to the Daily Mail, Darren Griffin, a professor of genetics at the University of Kent said the issue is ‘ethically fraught’.
She said: “Sex selection is an ethically fraught issue.
“Selection of embryos on the basis of sex, without mitigating reason, such a sex-linked disease, is illegal.
“Separating sperm beforehand may provide a legal loophole in some countries but not in the UK.
“There have been numerous methods around the decades, some effective but potentially harmful, others dubious in their effectiveness.
“I am convinced that the science is sound and that, instead of the usual 50:50 ‘coin toss’ then a couple can get a baby with the desired sex a little under 80 percent of the time.