UK’s Labor party has called for a ban on Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) that is being used by National Health Service to check for genetically prevalent diseases in fetus as there are reports that the tests are being used to check for the infant’s sex. Though the Department of Health stated that the evidence is being reviewed the Labor party MP Ms. Naz Shah said that the test was being wrongly used for wrongful termination of pregnancies. An initial investigation carried out by Victory Derbyshire program has found out that several British women were discussing about usage of NIPT as a sex determination test on online forums.
Ms Shah stated that there is cultural preference for boys in several South Asian communities and women are forced to adopt methods to ensure that they give birth to male children to live up to family expectations. The NIPT technique involves taking blood samples of a pregnant woman during initial months of pregnancy to test the baby’s DNA for common chromosomal disorders and this can also reveal its Rh blood type and gender. Though NHS doctors are not expected to share this detail with patients, private hospitals carry out this test for around £150 – £ 200 and give out all required information.
Jenna International organization’s Rani Bilkhu says the many women have confessed about being physically tortured to undergo abortions if they were found to be pregnant with female fetus when they already had given birth to one or two girl children. Sex selection is the only recourse for these women that face threat of divorce and homelessness if they resist the pressure to abort and insist on giving birth to female children. As choosing to abort fetus on the basis of sex is illegal in UK it is difficult to keep track as women use different hospitals for sex determination and for abortion to escape detection.