Choosing gender of IVF child is banned

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Parents are to be banned from choosing the gender of their child under sweeping reforms to the law covering "test tube" baby clinics to be announced today.

Although a Commons select committee recomm-ended that parents undergoing in-vitro fertilisation should be allowed to choose the sex of their children, the Government has decided the moral issues are too dangerous. They will confirm that clinics carrying out IVF treatment will be banned from offering a choice of the child's gender for non-medical reasons.

Caroline Flint, the Health minister, is also expected to announce that lesbian women will be allowed to have in-vitro fertilisation treatment. Legislation will also allow research on stem cells produced through IVF.

New rules will also will allow embryos to be screened for genetic abnormalities which may lead to serious medical conditions, disabilities or miscarriages.