Six week baby sex test available on the internet

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Prospective parents eager to know the sex of their unborn child can now buy a test on the internet which will tell them at just six weeks whether they are having a boy or a girl.

The test is sold by DNA Worldwide for U.S.$380, and the results are obtained from a finger-prick of blood; it is touted as being 99% accurate and offers a refund for wrong predictions.

However the kit has created controversy as experts say it could well encourage abortions if parents are unhappy with the result.

DNA Worldwide has rejected the accusations and say the early results allow parents more time to plan for their baby.

An early pregnancy sex test is not a new concept as last year the UK's Institute of Child Health successfully trialed a similar "seven week" test.

However the intention of this test which is available on the National Health Service, is for use in women at risk of having babies affected by disorders that usually only affect boys, such as Duchene muscular dystrophy.

Pro-life advocates have called the test very dangerous and say it would inevitably lead to babies being aborted simply for not being the 'required' sex and are also concerned it would lead to some women in some cultures being coerced into having abortions.

At present most hospitals will tell a couple the sex of their child at their 20 week ultrasound scan if they wish to know but some have already stopped revealing the information at 20 weeks for fear of 'wrong-sex' terminations.

The director of DNA Worldwide, David Nicholson, says parents excited by the pregnancy do not want to wait until their 20-week scan to find out.

By using three tests to look for the Y chromosome in the mother's blood which means a baby boy can be "confidently" predicted.

If there is no Y-chromosome DNA, the company can state "with equal confidence" that the baby will be a girl, the company says.

It takes around six days for results of the test to be returned to the customer.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists believes sex selection for non-medical purposes is inappropriate and says the focus should be the health and care of the mother and developing baby, rather than gender.

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