British couples are being offered the chance to choose the sex of their child in a U.S. clinic. The controversial practice - known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) - is banned in this country, except in cases where it could signal genetic disease. Fifty per cent of the embryos currently being tested in Dr Jeffrey Steinberg’s New York clinic are said to belong to Britons while another four will undergo testing next month. The American laws on sex selection changed in 2001 leading to medical centres offering ‘family balancing services’.
The cost of the service and travel expenses can total £20,000 ($33,000).
Dr Steinberg, who opened his clinic in January, told The Times: 'Britain is far more conservative than it used to be. They were the innovators but now they’ve got handcuffs on. ‘From a business standpoint, it’s the best thing going. From a medical standpoint, it’s a travesty.’ Pro-life supporters have criticised the practice, where ‘undesirable’ embryos are destroyed. According to The Telegraph, the Pope has highlighted an ‘obsessive search for the perfect child’ and warned that a ‘new mentality is creeping in that tends to justify a different consideration of life and personal dignity’.