The £189 mail-order kit by DNA Worldwide works by testing a single drop of a pregnant woman’s blood. It produces the same information usually first given at 20 weeks by an ultrasound scan.
It takes around six days for results of the test to be returned to the customer. DNA Worldwide claims the verdict is accurate 99% of the time.
Some parents will use the test to help them plan ahead but pro-life campaigners warned last night that a result at six weeks could lead to a sharp rise in the number of abortions.
The 20-week scan comes a month before the legal limit for an abortion. But some health authorities have already stopped revealing the information at 20 weeks for fear of ‘wrong-sex’ terminations.
An early sex test is already available on the Health Service for those whose babies are at risk of gender-specific genetic conditions such as the wasting disease muscular dystrophy. Most of these disorders affect only boys so by determining the sex early around half could avoid having further tests.