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Amniocentesis for sex determination is banned in our country. Is this ban necessary? Comment.

Last updated date: 22nd Jun 2024
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Hint: In India, female infanticide is very high in a number of states even today. Expecting parents carry out infanticide if the determined sex of the child is unacceptable, female in this case. Hence, severe regulations need to be carried out to prevent this from happening.

Complete step-by-step answer:
- Amniocentesis is a medical procedure carried out on expecting mothers to find any chromosomal abnormalities or the sex of the unborn child in a pregnant mother.
- In this prenatal diagnostic technique, a small amount of amniotic fluid is extracted from the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus. The fluid contains a small amount of fetal DNA. This DNA is then analyzed for genetic abnormalities.
- The genetic material also gives the biological sex of the fetus.
- In India, the issue of sex-selective abortion exists where the male child is preferred by families, especially in the North. The sex of the fetus is determined by amniocentesis and if it is female, the fetus is aborted. To overcome the female foeticide and infanticide problem, determining the gender by amniocentesis is banned and illegal in medical institutes.

Additional information:
- The extraction of amniotic fluid is as follows. First, a needle is inserted inside the uterus through the abdominal muscles and then into the amniotic cavity. The location can be tracked with the help of an ultrasound.
- Amniocentesis should be performed between the 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy at any time before it will injure the fetus.
- The genetic abnormalities determined by this technique include Down syndrome, Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18, sex chromosome aneuploidies, Fragile X, Neural tube defects like anencephaly, and spina bifida, and rare, inherited metabolic disorders.

- The other methods for discerning the sex of the unborn child are - cell-free fetal DNA testing, chorionic villus sampling, and obstetric ultrasonography.
- Polyhydramnios is the medical condition where there is an accumulation of amniotic fluids in the sac.