HC Deb 11 January 2000 vol 342 c136W
Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans Her Majesty's Government have to propose legislation to prevent the setting up of commercial establishments purporting to select the sex of a baby by embryology. [99751]

Yvette Cooper

Any treatment involving the use of human embryos outside the body is governed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The Act provides that such treatment cannot take place without a licence issued by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

In January 1993 the HFEA issued a public consultation document on the issues raised by sex selection and the ways of achieving it using assisted conception techniques. Following the consultation, the HFEA decided that licensed infertility clinics could carry out sex selection for medical reasons only in cases where a woman risked having a child with a life-threatening, sex-linked disease. Sex selection for social reasons is not permitted.

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