Doc's 'Gender Selection' Ad Raises Ethical Debate

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A doctor in Washington state is advertising that he can deliver dreams to expectant parents through gender selection.

Such practice is against the law in some places, but in the U.S., it is still legal. Despite the law, it's a procedure many consider immoral.

The medical term is "preimplantation genetic diagnosis," and is advertised as "gender selection" or "family balancing" on the website for the Washington Center for Reproductive Medicine in Bellevue.

Dr. James Kustin, who promotes gender selection, said parents can "virtually guarantee successful gender selection" for their baby, when it is an embryo.

"Ads like this, as a woman, I find them to be very offensive," Raminder Dosanjh, with the India Mahila Association in Canada, said.

The practice is illegal in Canada where some of these ads are appearing in minority newspapers, advocating to "create the family you want."

"Somebody is trying to cash in on the belief that some sections of the Indo-Canadian community believe in having male offspring," Dosanjh added.

Here in the U.S., the practice is approved, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

"Genetic pregnancy screening on its face and on its own is legal," Donn Moyer, a spokesman for the state health department, said.

"And where it could be problematic and might be a potential violation is if that information is specifically provided in order to lead to some sort of an action to terminate a pregnancy, for example," he explained.

Cases like this have prompted lawmakers to step in.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., introduced the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act or PreNDA, which bans such an abortion or coercing a woman to get such an abortion.

"A research report by Columbia University several years ago found that, in fact, there was a disparity between the number of males and females born in certain Asian and sub-Asian populations in the United States," Steven Aden, with the Alliance Defense Fund, said.

"Little girls in the United States are being sacrificed by the tens of thousands," Steven Mosher, with the Population Research Institute, said.

Dr. Kustin denies any wrongdoing. He wouldn't go on camera but said the procedure offered at his clinic is private and lawful.

But it's raising an ethical debate among parents.

"It's in your destiny, what you should have," Ayesha Ased, a mother, said. "It's okay whatever it is. It's a girl, and it's a boy. Kids are kids."

The state department of health said Kustin has had five complaints against him since he was licensed in Washington. State investigators were not able to substantiate any of the complaints.

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