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Thu, 01 Apr 2010 13:44 - Updated Thu, 01 Apr 2010 13:44

Egypt sex selection clinics engender controversy

Cairo

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Cairo - Some consider it medical progress, but baby gender selection in conservative Egypt has caused a stir among traditionalists who see it as an affront to ethics and have lashed out at clinics offering the service.

Ashraf Sabry, a medical doctor, has defied social opposition and uses in vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology to allow the sex of unborn babies to be chosen by their parents, many of whom yearn for a son.

In a country where over 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line according to World Bank figures, gender selection is out of the reach of most Egyptians. The procedure costs between 4,000 to 5,000 dollars.

The argument that the procedure will alter demographics has been rejected by some doctors.

A group of Egyptian MPs recently presented a draft bill to parliament aimed at managing IVF treatment and banning sex selection for convenience purposes.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls a fifth of Egypt's parliament, is opposed to the practice.