17 June, 2021

Family Values: $3,200

A new gender selection method might further skew sex ratios

Family Values: $3,200
THERE'S nothing even remotely Kafkaesque about the place. The ochre-coloured building on 3015 Williams Drive, Fairfax, hardly looks like a laboratory whose work is raising a global moral tempest. With its manicured front lawns, it looks like any of the tree-lined American suburbia offices fringing the nation's capital. But in suite 103 of this quiet building you can find technology that fulfils what is allegedly one of man's most sought-after desires: the ability to choose the gender of a child. Finally, science has stepped in where superstition and shamans have failed.

The technique, called MicroSort, was invented in the 1980s and had, ironically, been developed by a Dr Johnson of the US Department of Agriculture to breed better swine and cattle. But then came along entrepreneur Dr J.D. Schulman with geneticist Edward Fugger to refine and extend this technique to humans. Until they offered couples an 85 per cent chance of ensuring they could have a girl, there had been no guaranteed methods for gender selection. Though God knows humans have tried: powdered pearls in milk,...

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