Prenatal sex discernment .January 13, 2021
Prenatal sex discernment can be performed by preimplantation genetic diagnosis before conception, but this method may not always be classified as prenatal sex discernment because it’s performed even before implantation.
- Cell-free fetal DNA testing, wherein a venipuncture is performed on the mother to analyze the small amount of fetal DNA that can be found within it. It provides the earliest post-implantation test. A meta-analysis published in 2011 found that such tests are reliable more than 98% of the time, as long as they are taken after the seventh week of pregnancy.
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis are two rather invasive testing procedures. These may, in principle, be performed as early as the 8th and the 9th week of pregnancy. The difficulty of these tests and the risk of injury to the foetus, potentially resulting in miscarriage or congenital abnormalities (especially when done early during the pregnancy), make them quite rare during the first trimester. In the United States, CVS and amniocentesis are most commonly performed after the 11th and the 15th week of pregnancy.
Potential applications of prenatal sex discernment include:
- Disease testing: A complement to specific gene testing for monogenic disorders, which can be very useful for genetic diseases with sex linkage, such as, for example, X-linked diseases. In such cases, it may be much easier to exclude the possibility of disease in the child by prenatal sex discernment than to test for any specific sign of the disease itself. Common X-linked recessive disorders include Duchenne muscular dystrophy, fragile X syndrome and haemophilia.
- Preparation, for any sex-dependent aspects of parenting.
See also: Female infanticide in IndiaSex determination ban in India
Prenatal sex determination was banned in India in 1994, under the Pre-conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act. The act aims to prevent sex-selective abortion, which, according to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, “has its roots in India’s long history of strong patriarchal influence in all spheres of life”. Prenatal sex determination has caused the Child sex ratio to go down at alarming rates, in India, which is also another factor that led to its banning. However, Supreme Court raps Central Govt. for “Sloppy” implementation of PNDT Act Over time, there has been a substitution effect of more families participating in pre-natal sex determination instead of the previously popular act of female foeticide.
See also: Female infanticide in China
On May 1st, 2016, sex determination and sex-selective abortion were prohibited. Doctors are forbidden by the state from revealing the sex of unborn babies in an effort to stop prospective parents from finding out the gender of their child and potentially abort or abandon babies.