Do you want a girl or a boy British women fly to U.S to choose gender of their baby
Gender selection is banned in the UK under the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology ActOne doctor says he sees 40 British couples a year who want to pick the sex of their next baby

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UPDATED:

07:53 GMT, 29 August 2012

Dozens of British women are flying to the America every year and paying thousands of pounds to choose the sex of their baby, it has emerged.

As gender selection is illegal in the UK, couples who are desperate to balance their family by adding a boy or girl are flying to New York or Los Angeles.

Doctors at fertility clinics check the women’s fertilised eggs and then implant an embryo into them – after checking that the child will have the required gender.

Gender selection is banned in Britain but allowed in the U.S

Unusual decision: Gender selection is banned in Britain but allowed in the U.S

One doctor offering the service, British-trained Dr Jeffrey Steinberg, says he currently sees around 40 British couples a year. He has assisted 400 British women since he began offering the service a few years ago.

Dr Steinberg, whose main clinic is in New York, said yesterday: 'New York is only a seven or eight-hour flight from most of Europe, so it works very well for those from Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the Middle East.'

Dr Steinberg offers a technique called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

A welcome message on his website says: 'If you want to be certain your next child will be the gender you are hoping for, no other method comes close to the reliability of PGD.

'While traditional sperm-screening techniques have a success rate of 60 to 70 per cent, only PGD offers virtually 100 per cent accuracy.'

Dr Jeffrey Steinberg offers gender selection to British couples

Dr Jeffrey Steinberg offers gender selection to British couples

The website adds: 'Unlike many programmes offering sex selection only to very limited couples with known genetic disorders in the family, we make sex selection available to all patients.

'Parents have come to us from nearly every nation on the planet – we have assisted patients from 147 different nations – seeking to balance their families or assure themselves that a pregnancy will result in ONLY the gender outcome they desire.'

Gender selection is banned in Britain under the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. It says a licence to assist in reproduction 'cannot authorise any practice designed to secure that any resulting child will be of one sex rather than the other'.

It also forbids 'the testing of embryos for the purpose of establishing their sex'.

British law only allows gender testing where there is a family history of serious physical or mental medical conditions which are gender related.