A different kind of tourism

Well-off foreign couples are getting around laws banning sex selection in their home countries by going to America – where it's legal – for medical procedures that can give them the boy or girl they want, says Carla Johnson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The United States' lack of regulation means a growing global market for a few fertility clinics. Their numbers have been surging recently:

  • The web page for the Fertility Institutes of Los Angeles and Las Vegas (which performs in vitro fertilisation procedures) generates 140,000 hits a month from China alone, and the only country outpacing China's interest is Canada.

  • In a recent week, the same clinic performed the procedure on eight women from abroad and consulted with 12 new foreign patients from China, Germany, Canada, the Czech Republic, Guam, Mexico and New Zealand.

    The practice of sex selection does, however, have its detractors:

  • Some call it medical tourism for designer babies, or "consumer eugenics," and say it opens the door to a future where parents will choose their babies' hair and eye colour, or the potential to grow tall enough to play basketball, for example.

  • Others say U.S. doctors are catering to the same gender bias that has led to female infanticide in China and India.

    Source: Carla K. Johnson, Wealthy foreign couples coming to U.S. so they can select baby's sex South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 14, 2006

    For text (subscription required): http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-614babysex,0,5096202,print.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

    For more on Health: http://www.ncpa.org/iss/hea/

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 27 June 2006
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