Boy or girl? A simple test raises ethical concerns

AP News
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Posted: Aug 09, 2011 4:28 PM
Boy or girl? A simple test raises ethical concerns

Is it a boy or a girl? New research shows that a simple blood test in mothers-to-be can answer that question with surprising accuracy at about seven weeks.

Though not widely offered by U.S. doctors, gender-detecting blood tests have been sold online to consumers for the past few years. Their promises of early and accurate results prompted genetics researchers to take a closer look.

Researchers analyzed 57 published studies of gender testing done in rigorous research or academic settings _ though not necessarily the same methods or conditions used by direct-to-consumer firms.

The results suggest blood tests could be a breakthrough for women at risk of having babies with certain diseases. But the study also raises concerns about couples using such tests for gender selection and abortion.