Prenatal sex selection against females in the UK

Cultural preferences for male children and the availability of pre-natal sex-selection (PNSS) techniques in Asia have led to an unprecedented inbalance between the number of males and females born. There is also emerging evidence that Asian diasporas in the UK, USA and Canada are practising pre-natal sex-selection against females. This has led to calls for an analysis of the extent of PNSS in western countries and a re-evaluation of the related ethical arguments and policies.

This project will:

  • estimate the full extent of PNSS against females in the UK; 
  • identify which groups are most at risk of resorting to PNSS; and
  • assess the impact of the UK social context on son preference and PNSS.

The project will provide sound evidence to inform the ethical debate in western countries. Stakeholder engagement could help shape policies aimed at addressing PNSS.

Project details



Sylvie Dubuc, University of Oxford

Grant amount and duration:


February 2011 - June 2014