An ethics board says a blood test nine weeks into a woman’s pregnancy should be banned as it reveals the sex of the baby and can promote sex-selective abortion.
A ethics council is warning that some clinics are offering the blood test as a way of revealing the gender of a baby early but it could lead to the decision to abort the pregnancy.
The test is being introduced next year in the UK as a way for doctors to screen for Down’s, Patau’s and Edwards’ syndromes in baby’s they fear may have the conditions.
The blood test can also determine the sex of the baby however, and Nuffield Council on Bioethics fear this could lead to sex-selective abortions.
“We support the introduction of this test for Down’s syndrome on the NHS next year, so long as it is accompanied by good balanced information and support,” Professor Tom Shakespeare, chair of Nuffield Council on Bioethics working group on NIPT, told The Telegraph.
“However, we strongly believe there should be a ban on its use to find out the sex of the foetus, as this could lead to sex-selective abortions.”
The group are asking that the test only be used where the child is at risk of significant medical conditions that would have an impact during birth and childhood.