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Belgian Doctor Fined for Helping Couples Choose Baby’s Sex.

Update Date: Jun 27, 2013 11:51 AM EDT
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Back in the day, pregnant women had to wait an average of nine months before knowing whether or not they have brought a baby girl or baby boy into the world, hoping for a boy. Even though people in the past wanted boys more due to inheritance laws, nothing could be done to influence the sex of the baby. Now, due to modern technology, not only can couples find out about their baby's sex before the infant is born, they can also choose it before getting impregnated. Although this type of scientific technology is not practiced often, a Belgian gynecologist was just fined 4725 euros, the equivalent of $6158, for helping impregnate women with the desired baby's sex. Gender selection is illegal in Belgium and has been since 2007.

According to Daily Mail, gynecologist, Dr. Frank Sterckx from Borgehout, Belgium helped 165 women get pregnant with their choice of sex. Sterckx's clinic treated these women with specially prepared sperm cells for 1,000 euros apiece. The procedure involves utilizing the illegal laboratory method called albumin. Through this technique, Sterckx was able to separate the X chromosome in sperm cells from the Y chromosome, essentially separating the markers for females and males respectively through a centrifuge. According to the doctor, the promised success rate was 80 percent.

"I never realized that I was doing anything wrong," Sterckx told a Dutch TV program. Businessman, Bert van Delen, who runs a gender clinic in Holland, referred the majority of the Dutch couples that underwent the illegal procedure in Sterckx's clinic. Gender selection is also banned in the Netherlands.

According to the court in Antwerp, Belgium, van Delen was identified as the main leader of this illegal practice. He was sentenced to a one-year suspension.

"[van Delen] pocketed most of the money," Judge Luc Potargent revealed. "He acted out of a desire to make a profit, not idealism."

Currently gender selection in Belgium is only allowed if one of the parents has the potential of passing down a genetic disorder that is tied to sex. For example, muscular diseases often are passed down via the male-sex line. Other than that, parents do not have the lawful right to pick the sex of their child. 

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