16 June 2009

Sex selection in US

A controversial article in the New York Times suggests that sex selection is happening in the US among Chinese, Indian and Korean American families. Researchers argue that they have found significant statistical evidence to show that there is most likely a preference for sex selection, IVF and sperm sorting or abortion:

"In those families, if the first child was a girl, it was more likely that a second child would be a boy, according to recent studies of census data. If the first two children were girls, it was even more likely that a third child would be male."

Now, it is dangerous and potentially racist to suggest that certain groups of people are deliberately using abortion for to have more baby boys. But, according to Columbia University economists, among American families of Chinese, Korean and Indian descent, the likelihood of having a boy increased to 1.17 to 1 if the first child was a girl. If the first two children were girls, the ratio for a third child was 1.51 to 1 — or about 50 percent greater — in favor of boys.

While sex-selection is not illegal in the US, it is surprising to find that some fertility clinics actually target Asian Americans in their advertisements. For example, The Fertility Institutes, with clinics in California and New York, which does not offer abortions, has openly advertised its services in Indian- and Chinese-language newspapers in the United States.

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