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Prenat Diagn. 2006 Jul;26(7):619-26.

Attitudes towards sex selection for non-medical reasons: a review.

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King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology (at Guy's), Health Psychology Section, UK.


Early non-invasive fetal sexing is widely available over the Internet, leading to concerns about its possible use for sex selection. The aim of this review is to summarise the results of surveys describing lay attitudes towards sex selection for non-medical reasons to help address or inform such concerns. A search of electronic databases and key journals was supplemented by an Internet search and citation-tracking. Twenty-one quantitative studies were identified. Most were conducted in the US, with five recent studies in the UK and Germany. Most studies found that, overall, people were not in favour of sex selection. However, this varied from 94 to 18%. People may hold more negative attitudes when the method of sex selection is specified, particularly if this involves termination of pregnancy (TOP). Attitudes towards the general availability of sex selection are less negative than those towards personal use. Attitudes were consistently negative in German surveys. Little is known of such attitudes outside the US, the UK and Germany, and how such attitudes may change as new sex selection technologies become available. Studies of use of early non-invasive fetal sexing for sex selection for non-medical reasons are needed to assess the extent to which concerns about usage are justified and to assist in debates on how these might be most appropriately addressed.

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