This just in, a story in the Guardian referring to an article in the most recent issue of Nature:
A clinical trial into the effects of allowing couples to choose the sex of their babies has been given the go-ahead at a US fertility clinic. The controversial study was given the green light by an ethics committee after nine years of consultation. The purpose of the study is to find out how cultural notions, family values and gender issues feed into a couple's desire to choose the gender of their child.
Yes, you are reading that right, folks. A team of fertility specialists at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas will be conducting a trial that involves pre-implanation genetic diagnosis (which has only been used, until now, to identify serious disabilities and potentially life-threatening conditions) to find out why people might select one sex over another. And people are clamoring to get in: there have already been 50 inquiries from would-be parents asking to participate. Can it really be that this is a worthwhile research question? And are we really including selective termination of "wrong-sex" embryos as part of an empirical research protocol? Read more here.
Rumors have been floating around for some time (see Linda Glenn's earlier blog post re the "GenderMentor" test) that existing direct-to-consumer, mail-order prenatal tests, purportedly designed to help future parents plan for the arrival of their wanted child of either sex (Hmm, shall I buy the pink sleeper or the blue one?), have in fact been used as the basis for sex-based terminations.
Just in case you thought the no-girl-babies problem was something that only happened in other countries. . . .