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Gender Testing Kits

February 29, 2008

A front-page article in LA Times: “Accuracy of Gender Test Kits in Question

Taking a look at the booming genomics industry in the US, the article reports that several companies have been selling the gender test-kits tests for $249 and up directly to consumers. The tests are so simple that all it takes is for the expecting mother to “prick a finger and mail a sample of dried blood to the company’s laboratory.”

Compared to the conventional ultrasound technology, these gender test-kits make it easier to determine the gender of the fetus at an early stage of pregnancy, and thereby easier to abort the fetus then than if the sex determination were to be carried out at a later stage.

I wonder if these test-kits are available in India. With the cultural preference – in the Indian society – for having male-children and the social structure not able to stop the harmful actions resulting from that preference for a male-child, these kits will only exacerbate the current gendercide in India.

Any form of gender-testing of the fetus should be strongly discouraged. Perhaps even banned. Especially in a Kudimaar society. Though India has banned sex-determination testing (for example, the pre-natal diagnostic test PNDT act), it lags behind in the enforcement of the law. When the law is enforced, it is mainly the parents involved in the sex-selective abortion who are targeted; the clinics and doctors conducting the tests are not prosecuted.

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