A new test that reveals a baby’s s*x at 10 weeks has, predictably, led to panic about an increase in terminations – as if we need even more anxiety about pregnancy
When should a woman be able to find out her baby’s s*x? And what should she be able to do with this information? In the latest instalment of What to Expect When Society Lays Expectations Upon You, to which Wide Awoke dutifully refers whenever anything pregnancy-related crowns its head, the Labour party is calling for a ban on pregnant women being told the s*x of their baby after the early blood tests. Why? Because of a concern that some people may choose termination on the grounds of s*x. Which is, quite rightly, illegal. The s*x of a foetus is not a reason for termination; I think most human beings can agree on that.
Let’s delve deeper. Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), now offered by the NHS to screen for genetic conditions including Down’s syndrome, can also determine a foetus’s s*x from as early as 10 weeks. Parents cannot use NIPT to find out a baby’s s*x unless they go private, and this appears to be happening more. A report last year warned that “permitting NIPT for s*x determination in the UK may be encouraging s*x selection”. The Labour MP Naz Shah said that a preference for boys in some cultures could force parents “to adopt methods such as NIPT to live up to expectations of family members”.