Naz Shah MP against early baby gender tests, calls for restrictions

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BRADFORD:  Labour Member of Parliament  Naz Shah has opposed early baby gender test as some could choose to terminate the pregnancy because of a fetus’s sex. The non-invasive pre-natal test (NIPT) is used to detect Down’s syndrome and other genetic conditions and is being rolled out by the NHS as an additional part of its antenatal screening offer.

Labour MP Naz Shah, shadow minister for women and equalities, said a preference for boys in some cultures could force expecting mothers and fathers “to adopt methods such as NIPT to live up to expectations of family members”.

“NIPT screenings should be used for their intended purpose, to screen for serious conditions such as Down’s syndrome,” she told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. The Government needs to look into this exploitative practice and enforce appropriate restrictions.”

According to a Telegraph and Argus report, parents-to-be who take the test on the health service can not use it to learn their baby’s gender, however they can pay for it privately, including via online services.

On the NHS, parents-to-be are offered a combined blood and ultrasound test in the first three months of pregnancy to check for abnormalities.Most women and couples can find out the sex of the fetus at the 18 to 20-week scan offered by the NHS.

Using NIPT, the gender of the fetus can be determined from nine to 10 weeks of pregnancy.