Egypt's sex-selection clinics under fire

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-4-6 8:17:58

Some consider it medical progress, but baby gender selection in conservative Egypt has caused a stir among traditionalists who see it as an affront to ethics and have lashed out at clinics offering the service.

Ashraf Sabry, a medical doctor, has defied social opposition and uses in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology to allow the sex of unborn babies to be chosen by their parents, many of whom yearn for a son.

In a country where over 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to World Bank figures, gender selection is out of the reach of most Egyptians. The procedure costs between $4,000 and $5,000.

"I am married and I am a mother to four girls," said one former patient, who, like most Egyptian Muslim women, dons the Islamic headscarf. "My husband and I met with Sabry, and thanks to IVF we have a little boy who is now 2 years old."

The argument that the procedure will alter demographics has been rejected by some doctors.

"We are not changing the balance of the sexes. It is still God who decides whether the procedure succeeds or not," Cairo gynaecologist Ehab Suleiman said.

The practice has divided Muslim scholars. A leading Egyptian cleric denied that it was even possible to choose the sex of a child, saying that only God could decide the fetus' gender.


Posted in: Africa

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