Wednesday, June 10, 2009


A new over-the-counter product called IntelliGender can possibly predict the sex of an unborn fetus as early as 10 weeks old.

It claims that within 10 minutes of taking the urine test, a woman will be able
to tell her baby's gender. The specimen will turn green if it's a boy, and
orange if it's a girl.

A product like this has serious implications in countries (and families) where one sex is preferred over another. 10 weeks is early enough to terminate the pregnancy, and the thought that this product may aid in abortions based on the sex of a child is more than troublesome. For example, China's preference for male babies is ingrained in both culture and politics. At one point the Chinese government set into place a one-child-only policy as an attempt to target overpopulation which significantly increased the number of female infanticides. The Communist Party took power in 1949 and outlawed this practice. However, in the 1980's the Chinese government census continued to show hundreds of thousands of missing baby girls each year. The practice of female infanticide in China is most prevalent in rural areas where boys are valued for their ability to help with the land and take care of their parents later on in life. Girls, however, traditionally move in with their in-laws and cannot further help their birth family. Baby girls are often "abandoned, suffocated, or drowned soon after birth." Aside from being an inhuman, unethical, and sexist practice, female infanticide effects the Chinese culture in many ways, "in 1997 the London Telegraph quoted ...a Chinese journal... which warned the male-to-female ratio in China has become so unbalanced that there will soon be an 'army of bachelors' in China - an estimated 90 million Chinese men in search of a spouse." Female infanticide is an old practice dating back to 200 B.C. in Greece. It still exists today mostly cited in China and India.

The makers of IntelliGender state they will not be distributing to China and India. Still, products like these terrify me. It makes me feel like we are one step closer to being able to generate our "ideal" child.

At least it turns orange and green rather than pink and blue? Oh for small victories...

Thanks, Joanne, for sending this over and pointing out the "i need it right now" instant world we currently live in.


Krissy said...

From everything I've read, these tests are far from accurate. The test shouldn't even exist.

Allison said...

I had never heard of these kits until today, but I do know that myths about RE knowing the gender via urine testing abound. The latest was that mixing urine and Draino will reveal the gender. None of these methods are over 50% accurate, so I'm skeptical that IntelliGender is much better.

In any case, surely an ultrasound would be more accurate? Hopefully parents-to-be won't skip ultrasounds in favor of this kit.

phd in yogurtry said...

The implications are absolutely troublesome. But, we knew this was coming, didn't we? No telling what is next. Eye color? Hair texture? Height?

TheEXfundi said...

Wow! Yogurtry, exactly.

Cecilia said...

You'd think they'd come up with something useful to tell us first; tendency toward depression, alzheimer's, even macular degeneration. No, they tell us what gender the baby is. When I have kids, I don't care if they're aliens. I just care that they're happy and healthy and that I raise them to be good, loving people.

darklogos said...

We are commodities now in our society. Our genes are something that can be copyrighted and sold. Science unknowingly as made the nature of humanity less and less personal and more technical. When you have ideals behind guided evolution what do you expect would come from gene-therapy. Science an culture is going to try to take the reigns and guide our evolutionary path. In a 1000 years 6 foot barbie and ken dolls of mixed races with iq's in the 130+ range will be common. Those that are transgendered will be a thing of the past or seen as a novelity.