Sex Selection

July 2001

The British Fertility Society opposes social engineering and the use of sex selection for these purposes.

We do, of course, welcome any scientific advance which will provide more effective and cost effective use of treatments used to avoid the inheritance of certain disorders such as haemophilia and duchenne muscular dystrophy transmission of which is linked to the X chromosome.

As yet it is premature to say whether this new technique reported in North America (which uses flow cytometry to select out the Y chromosome sperms) will provide such an advance as there remain both safety and efficacy issues to resolve.

The use of such techniques in selecting sperm for use in artificial insemination does falls outwith the remit of the legislation which governs infertility practice in the UK. However, British Fertility Society and RCOG guidelines together with the HFEA Code of Practice provides a clear guidance for clinicians working in the UK not to adopt these techniques for social sex selection.

Both the British Fertility Society and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority which licences those centre in the UK providing IVF and similar treatment advises against the use of such practices for medical reasons until more data is available.