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Q: What is high-tech sex selection?

A: High-tech sex selection is the use of technologies to choose the sex of a future child, usually in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization (IVF). These techniques have obvious advantages over older, cruder methods such as infanticide and selective abortion, but raise important ethical questions.

Q: What techniques are used for high-tech sex selection?

A: The most significant technique is the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) as part of IVF treatment. One or more embryos of the desired sex is selected, and implanted into the womb of a woman who will carry it to term. Another technique, less accurate and invasive but cheaper, is "sperm sorting," which separates sperm carrying a Y chromosome from those carrying two X chromosomes. The sperm sample with the desired chromosomes is used to fertilize an egg.

Q: What is PGD?

A: PGD is a procedure for testing the genetic makeup of very early embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF). At this stage, an embryo has about eight cells, which are typically identical; they have started to multiply...