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Medical ethics and human reproduction: Scientists predict unbalanced future with sex selection

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 19 February 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:536
  1. K N Laland,
  2. J Kumm,
  3. M W Feldman
  1. Subdepartment of Animal Behaviour, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 8AA
  2. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Stanford, CA 94305, USA Sheffield S7 2GY.

    EDITOR, - The recent opening of a gender clinic in north London and the publication of a report of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority1 have focused attention on the morality of selecting the sex of children. The resulting debate has taken place in the absence of valid scientific data on the genetic and demographic consequences of this practice. Preliminary studies have found that parental preferences at such clinics around the world can be strongly biased towards sons.*RF 2-4*. We report the results of a theoretical study that establishes that substantial genetic distortions of the primary sex ratio (the sex ratio at conception) may result if parents consistently prefer sons to daughters.5

    If parents are …

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