Parents are increasingly asking to choose the sex of their children in an attempt to lower their baby's risk of diseases and disorders ranging from cancer to autism, IVF doctors say.
Figures from one of Sydney's top IVF clinics show about one in 20 parents seeking embryo screening are looking to have a female baby to reduce their risk of autism.
The question is, what is the best thing for that woman: continuing to try on her own and miscarrying versus doing IVF and testing the embryos? We can't know for sure that everybody definitely benefits.
Fertility experts say the issue is the tip of the iceberg with a huge range of tests becoming available. Some clinics in the US now offer testing for up to 600 different genetic markers.
The medical director of the fertility company Genea, Mark Bowman, said his organisation had done more than 100 cycles of what is known as "pre-implantation genetic diagnosis" this year, mostly for conditions such as cystic fibrosis, where family members have the condition and a gene mutation is known to be responsible.
"In a way these tests are the ultimate preventative medicine," Associate Professor Bowman said.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/why-ivf-parents-are-choosing-girls-over-boys-20131225-2zwrf.html#ixzz2ogZACupc