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IVF Clinic

Vitaly Kushnir’s fertility clinic offers to screen an embryo to predict a baby’s sex, but the service can lead to ethically murky territory, like when a couple wanted it so their first child could be a boy.

But the couple pushed back, saying that they would simply end the pregnancy if it was a girl. “I’m not in the business of bringing in unwanted children,” said Kushnir, who owns West Coast Fertility Centers and teaches at the University of California at Irvine. Kushnir, who ultimately agreed to the couple’s wishes, said there should be some restrictions on selecting a baby’s sex, but in the United States, there aren’t any.

The Alabama Supreme Court’s surprise ruling in February that frozen embryos are legally children has sparked new scrutiny of in vitro fertilization, a common procedure responsible for about 2 percent of births a year in the United States. Alabama lawmakers swiftly responded with legislation aimed at protecting IVF providers and patients from criminal or civil liability, which the governor signed this week. But the firestorm has reopened...