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Canadian health groups warn against commercial ultrasounds

The solution to the problem of sex selection does not lie in criminalizing ultrasound and amniocentesis, or in withholding medical information from women.

Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

The doctors who treat pregnant women are warning mothers-to-be against using "entertainment" ultrasounds solely to determine the sex of their fetuses.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, along with the Canadian Association of Radiologists, put out a new joint policy statement this week calling for an end to ultrasounds offered by non-medical clinics.

The groups decided to update their position in light of media reports of "non-medical clinics performing gender determination in the first trimester."

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"This technology should not be used for the sole purpose of determining fetal gender without a medical indication for that scan," the policy statement reads.

Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have both recommended against commercial ultrasounds, particularly the kind that have proliferated to provide 3-D fetal videos as a keepsake.

An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2012 warned that ‎Canada has become a "haven for parents who would terminate female fetuses in favour of having sons," in part because of advances in prenatal sex determination.

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Kelly Grant is a health reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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