by Steven Ertelt
May 11, 2007
Canberra, Australia (LifeNews.com) — Officials in Australia are concerned about a new kit that can be used to determine the sex of an unborn child. They say that allowing someone to more easily identify the gender of a baby could lead to abortions if the sex of the baby isn’t what his or her parents desire.
The mail order kit uses a DNA test to determine the gender of the unborn baby at six weeks into the pregnancy and it can be ordered over the Internet for under $500.
The Pink or Blue Early Test Kit claims to be 99 percent accurate and it uses a finger prick of blood from the mother to determine the sex of the child. Results can be obtained online after processing.
A member of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which regulates drugs on the island nation, said it can’t stop people there from ordering the kits but it is looking into them.
"The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) are aware of it and is seeking advice from the human genetics advisory committee," an official told the Advertiser newspaper.
Meanwhile, Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, who has been outspoken against abortion and tried to prevent sales of the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug, has asked the federal government to look into the kit.
"I have to say, speaking as a citizen rather than as a health minister, I tend to view kids should be regarded as a gift to be cherished rather than as a commodity," Abbott told News Limited.
"Abortion is tragic and I think abortion for sex selection is something which should be avoided. It doesn’t strike me as something that people ought to be doing."
Australian Family Association spokesman Gabrielle Walsh called on the government there to block sales of the kit.
"Sex selection in terms of family planning is of grave concern, more baby girls are aborted under these conditions than boys — it is a terrible idea," she told the newspaper.
Other concerns come into play that some nations that practice sex-selection abortions could see strong sales of the kit there — in places such as China, India and other nations.
Some have criticized the test kit as well for now giving as accurate of a result as its makers claim but DNA Worldwide is defending the kit saying that the test is accurate and can be used with confidence.
The company wrote on its web site: "Since an ultrasound is not always accurate in determining the gender of a baby, and is most commonly performed four to six months during the pregnancy to determine the gender, the Early Gender Test is the best solution to determining the sex of an unborn child."
The company is offering a refund to anyone who uses the kit and give birth to a baby of the opposite sex.
The test looks for DNA from the baby in the mother’s blood and if it picks up a Y-chromosome, the company said is could "confidently" predict a boy was expected.
Without the chromosome, parents should expect to have a girl.