By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A new at-home test kit to determine the sex of an unborn child at only eight weeks is being made available in Australian pharmacies beginning this week. Doctors and pro-life groups fear the test will be used as a means of sex selection and result in driving up abortion rates.
According to a report by The Sunday Telegraph, IntelliGender, the first such test kit of its kind in Australia, claims to have a 90 percent accuracy rate in determining the sex of an unborn child. The test, which has been available in the U.S. since 2006, costs $95 and claims it requires only 10 minutes to identify a “confidential element” found in the hormones of a woman pregnant with a girl. The same element is found in very low levels in women pregnant with a boy or not pregnant at all.
Currently, women must wait 18 to 20 weeks into their pregnancy before finding out the gender of their baby with an ultrasound, a test that is far more accurate than IntelliGender, doctors say.
Dr. Ted Weaver, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says there appears to be no scientific evidence to back the test’s claims.
“We’re all about women having choices, but we want the choices to be valid,” Dr Weaver said. “The concern we would have is that people would then terminate pregnancies on the grounds of sex selection.”
Dr Weaver said he found it hard to believe a urine test could achieve a 90 per cent accuracy rate at eight weeks, and it raised ethical and moral questions.
“Should it be available in this country? I certainly have mixed feelings about that,” he said.
Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace said the product should be banned.
“That we would allow a product that would allow eugenics to be practised and started in the home is just unbelievable,” he said.
The Australian Council of Natural Family Planning also expressed concerns.
“Lots of couples do find out the sex of their babies, but not that early in the pregnancy,” council president Evelyn Brien said.
“The risk is that they could decide to abort the pregnancy if it’s not the sex of their choice. Morally, that’s unacceptable.”
Some Australian couples have ordered the test online from the US.
One man whose wife’s test proved to be accurate told a nine-weeks-pregnant relative about it. “She then said she would ‘miscarry’ should it not be a boy (after two girls),” he wrote in a blog.
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