Intended for healthcare professionals


Non-invasive prenatal screening should be banned for sex selection, says ethics report

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 01 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1071
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. London

Testing a fetus to determine its sex should be banned, and the marketing practices of manufacturers and private companies offering the tests should be more closely monitored, a report has recommended.1

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ report on non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPT), a method of testing for genetic conditions by taking a blood sample from the mother at nine or 10 weeks of pregnancy, said that sex determination should not be offered unless it is being used to diagnose a medical condition. The tests are carried out by private sector providers, and some evidence shows that sex selective terminations do occur in the UK, the report said.

A consultation by the council found that many respondents thought that sex selection was “sexist and wrong.” …

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