Gender Identification Test

Should fetus identification tests be allowed?

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Comments (36)

(32) David, October 24, 2014 7:18 PM

Is this a psak or a personal view?

Setting aside gender "selection", which is not what the test accomplishes, what is wrong with knowing? Rabbi Solomon, you are quick to dismiss the benefits you seem to acknowledge that others value in satisfying their G-d given curiosity sooner rather than later (but only in the context of concern one might act against the fetus with that information). Where abortion is not under consideration, and my wife's OB/GYN has in his file test results identifying the gender, what is the downside in my knowing (me, as a person who would not CVS contemplate aborting anyone; I'm not asking you this Q as a broad social policy)? Not sure if you'll see this note, but if you do I would really appreciate an halachically informed response as this is a timely topic for me and not something I would probably go to a rav about.


(31) Anonymous, April 17, 2012 4:39 PM

Adoption--they choose girls!

You might be interested to know that, in the US, 85% of adopting parents choose girls if they have a choice! It is not the same here as in China!

(30) Anonymous, April 17, 2012 4:34 PM

I have never met a woman who would abort because of the baby's sex.

We do not have the same culture or values of those in China or India. I have never met a woman in this country who would abort because of the baby's sex. Ever. My feeling is that it is very beneficial to know the baby's sex, in advance. Then, if you do have a preference for what you are not getting, you have time to adjust, accept, and so not have this preference influence your absolute love for your baby.

(29) tshirtdr1, August 28, 2011 11:50 PM

Missing the obvious?

Male or female, the child created inside the womb is created by God. Parents don't have the right to choose to kill it.

(28) Rivka, August 23, 2011 5:54 AM

Gender Selection

I do not feel that the government should control this, I feel it is up to the parents. BUT for me personally, unless their was a grave disease that would specifically affect one sex and not the other I would not go down the gender selection road. When it comes to babies, you get what you get and you should be happy for it.

(27) Anonymous, August 20, 2011 8:32 PM

gender selection is a bad idea. its really a form of eugenics

Read: Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by Mara Hvistendahl.

(26) constance, August 18, 2011 4:26 PM

When do we let it all rest in G-d's hands?

So, if abortion is OK when the Mother's life is at stake (mental or physical) what happens when a Mother declares that her mental health is at stake because she really wanted a girl, or that another girl will destroy her marriage, thus her sanit? Playing devils advocate, what about families where male dominate disease would lead to an abortion. And what of those cases where the genetic identity and the physical presentation of a child does not mesh, as in intersex children? This is in deed a slippery slope to many things. Then again, so is earlier and earlier testing for genetic defects of fetus'. At what point do we say either all abortion is wrong, or all abortion is right? And at what point do we decide that a child does not have to be perfect (or the right sex), to be worthy of our love? And what of artificial insemination? I just think we have gotten to a point we do not need to be at. There has to come a time when we say G-d, or nature, has all in His hands and we should leave well enough alone!

(25) Rachel, August 17, 2011 3:21 AM

Are you outraged at abortion?

Some if the opponents of gender testing have no problem with abortion as long as the baby's sex is not a factor. So it's OK to abort a girl as long as you don't know her sex in advance? If abortion on demand isn't murder, then why is it so morally wrong to do it for gender selection? In the US, I think that gender selection would not lead to an imbalance of one sex over the other because many people are happy to have children of either sex. I am expecting a granddaughter in 2 weeks and think it's great knowing in advance that a girl is on her way!

leah, August 17, 2011 4:37 PM

I think that it would lead to an imbalance of sexual gender. Anything like this that is given an opportunity definately has a propensity to get out of hand. Sometimes it's not the issue itself that allows it to get out of hand, it's other external potential circumstances that could influence this issue to become larger. ie: let's say a war on the horizon and then it may influence couples to want to produce males or other examples like this....."They may be happy in America to have either sex baby", yet these same couple could possibly be influenced to change their minds at a later date. Unfortunately our society is getting more selfish, too.....

(24) RG, August 17, 2011 3:06 AM

The Issue is Gender Selection, Not Gender Identification

Why are we debating gender identification? By itself, this concept is neutral. Like any other neutral thing in life, it can lead to something bad, like gender selection. I think R' Salomon should have spoken about the actual issue, and titled his vlog such, instead of making it a tangential debate about gender identification.

(23) Anonymous, August 16, 2011 10:37 PM

Sometimes it is the right thing to do

There are a few genetic diseases that apply to only one sex. Consequently knowing the sex may enable the baby to be healthy. One sex is a carrier, but the other one has the disease.

(22) Antonio Perez, August 16, 2011 10:31 PM

Gender testing

I always enjoy your point of view Rabbi. Good for you that you have 8 children. I hope they have your wisdom and pass it on to their children. Thank you very much again.

(21) Larry Zack, August 16, 2011 8:59 PM

I agree with you completely.

I think that the "slippery slope" theory would fit here. It reminds me of what the Nazis wanted to do during WWII.

(20) elsa, August 16, 2011 8:24 PM

You mentioned China. If one is only allowed one child; a boy is the only one who will look after you in old age. The state is not responsible. You are not choosing a child, but whether or not you will have to starve when you are too old to work. This has nothing to do with choosing a name or baby clothes and furniture. I find this barbaric, but I can understand parents deciding that their only child should be male because it is a matter of survival when they are too old to fend for themselves. The society must change, but we have no right to judge until it does.

(19) rochel, August 16, 2011 7:13 PM

twins boy & girl?

What happens then, unclear anwer just to scare the parents till they discover its twins???

(18) Sara, August 16, 2011 6:33 PM

I certainly agree that aborting a fetus due to gender preferences is wrong but I don't think that finding out the gender is a bad thing. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I found out that she was a girl when I was 20 weeks along. I wanted to know what I was carrying; to have a little image in my mind of who was swimming around inside me. I also wanted to have all my faculties about me when I found out the gender; not exhausted from hours of labor. I am glad I found out her gender because it helped me make a connection to her by having a clearer picture of my future child. I plan on finding out the gender of my future children so I can share that same close relationship during my pregnancy.

(17) kitty, August 16, 2011 5:38 PM


Don't people have enough time to get prepared for boy or girl with the Dr's test at least 4 months before it's born? This is so people can abort the unwanted sex early! Just another excuse to kill a person. God forbid, & God will judge. But God will accept these aborted babies into heaven.

(16) Marshall B., August 16, 2011 5:23 PM

I agree.....but, for a different reason

Gender identification tests are just one more element of devaluing the concept that there is a divine influence or presence in the conception/gestation/birth process. Other elements of this devaluation are baby showers and full-scale furnishing and decoration of a baby's room....all, in advance of the blessing of the baby's birth. It's all very sad to me.

Carol, August 17, 2011 2:08 AM

Baby showers don't "devalue the concept of divine influence"

It amazes me how we presume to make assumptions about our fellow Jews. I view baby showers for expectant mothers as joyful celebrations of the baby that is already growing, because pregnancy is a blessing that we appreciate for its potential. Calling this a devaluation of the birth process seems ridiculous to me, like casting verbal stones when people simply have a different opinion about a harmless custom. It's also easier to be ready in some ways for the baby. And if, G-d forbid, the baby does not survive birth, the heartbreak will be there regardless of whether there was a shower or not. On the other hand, If someone disagrees with me and finds it meaningful to wait until after the baby is born for the shower, I would be wrong to call that person "superstitious", as some do. We each have our viewpoints. Let's show each other respect.

(15) Pauline, August 16, 2011 4:47 PM

Where are all the Jewish doctors?

Why is no one with a medical back ground making a comment? I agree that it will be scary, with what some people or society do over this ability to gender test. HOWEVER, some genetic (fatal) diseases only pass to one gender. A couple may have certain defects in their genes that they know of after many of their babies have died. They've gone through entire pregnancies, births, and immediate torturous life support efforts to prolong the life of their tiny newborn, only for it to live days in agony to all. What is the purpose of needlessly putting the woman's life (pregnancy can still be dangerous), and this baby through all this needless trauma, and the family too? So, in some cases, knowing the potential gender/health issues (if any), can help doctors do something even while the baby is in the uterous, or upon birth that could save it's life. I'm not saying to abort over any health issue, but if they know the child can not live, why wait until months into the pregnancy to figure things out? Each day a woman is pregnant, she falls more in love with her child, making it all more painful. And if she must abort to save her life or to not put the child through certain agony and death, then I agree that this test should be available. But of course, to test for frivolous reasons should not be done. There may be cases when it may be important though.

(14) Jonathan Shopiro, August 16, 2011 3:28 PM

Unnecessary test, unnecessary prohibition

This test may be unnecessary but a law prohibiting it is even more unnecessary. Gender identification in itself is not evil so it should not be prohibited. Some may consider gender selection evil; if you agree work to prohibit that, not some innocuous precursor.

(13) jdadam, August 16, 2011 3:06 PM

Our knowledge of Torah needs to exceed our knowledge in the world

There is no turning back the "clock", what is will remain as long as it is found useful to society-as Jews we live in societies not based on Torah, but the rationalizations of human understanding. As we must be aware by now, human understanding cannot be trusted. China is a cultural anomaly; historically they never embraced a "god. I agree with you Rabbi, though I doubt it will be heeded. My personal experience is that everything is either a tool or a weapon in man's hands....Torah teaches us how to choose rightly for ourselves, our families and our communities when we are in personal relationship with Hashem.

(12) Anonymous, August 16, 2011 3:01 PM

Gender Identification is wrong

I think the Rabbi avoided using the words 'morally wrong' when talking about people aborting fetuses if they were the wrong gender. The cumulative result of the imbalance of boys over girls in China will create an incredibly imbalanced society-with no wives for millions of men- and who knows what that will lead to? But on a personal level it is intolerable that people should be able to indulge in 'femicide'.

(11) Kevin, August 16, 2011 2:07 PM

Another Step On the Road to Gattica

I agree Rabbi... throws unconditional love out the window IMHO. Why is it important to know gender if not to have the choice to select it? I'm not saying this applies to everyone, it's natural to be curious about the life that grows within his or her mommy. So, why not plan for both genders, pick out a boy and a girl name (we did). Stores are happy to hold your selections, and if you get the wrong color, well, there's always Sherwin Williams. Ultrasounds promise to tell gender too. Our second, a boy, they said was definitely a girl, LOL, he's ALL Boy! Tests can be wrong. What if you plan for a girl based on a test and the test was wrong? Pregnancy tests are often used by those seeking to choose to murder their pre-born child, why wouldn't gender testing be used likewise, ESPECIALLY in china where women are forced into sometimes fatal abortions if they already have a child, or lack pregnancy permits. Sure, money is important, but what about faith, love, and family-values? Bris expensive? So, plan a Bris whether its a boy or a girl, and if its a girl, use the money to start her college fund or generally towards her future, etc. Or donate the money in her name to help someone who can't afford a Bris. We have 7 miracle arrows in our quiver, our 7th born with many issues. Guess what, The Almighty (blessed is He), provided for our needs with each blessing as they joined our family, and especially our Emma Shalom, our youngest born with many issues, she will be our "million-dollar baby" before she turns 7. The Almighty provided for each child financially, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. And why wouldn't He? He knows us better than we ourselves do. Being responsible can be consistent with the faith we claim to live. People always asked, do you want a boy or a girl, and is this it, are you done having kids? We always responded, a happy healthy child, and, we don't know how many children The Almighty will ultimately bless us with.

(10) Roni, August 16, 2011 1:13 PM

I couldn't disagree more

What's so wrong with finding out the sex of your baby? I have family overseas, and so it is important for me to find out the sex so that relatives could come for the bris and to prepare for the bris financially, and those who can still afford to would still come to see the baby should it be a girl. The whole family is thrilled about this baby, we wouldn't dream of G-d forbid aborting it, whatever the sex, nor would the sex of the baby affect the amount of joy or love towards the baby.

(9) ruth housman, August 16, 2011 12:37 PM


It is said that curiosity killed the cat, and in this case, you are worried, that curiosity killed the baby. Certainly, sadly, this is too often true, and yes, there is a dearth of girls in China and those girls born are often forced into adoption and into forced abandonment by the male parent. I have read heart breaking books about Chinese adoption and about what happened to these girl babies. Terrible! I think we have a deep dilemma here in the area of ethical choice, and this cuts across most decisions in ethics, that balancing point. Where do we draw the line? I would say, just about everywhere I turn I see this same question, about something else, but always related to judgment, and surely arguments can be made on both sides and always are being made. I think, quite honestly, we're put here to experience the angst of this, and then to decide, for ourselves. I don't think you can change the onslaught and for some on slaughter of science. I think we need to be using our gray matter to explore, these gray areas and that G_d is looking for the angst in the making of difficult ongoing decisions. What's trivial for some, seems earth shaking for others. Yes, How much DO we really need to know? Genetic problems are another ethical issue, aren't they? Do we abort in utero? Some would say YES absolutely, and others, absolutely NO. Consult the angel on your shoulder because most ethical decisions reside in the area of GRAY.

(8) ymr, August 16, 2011 11:35 AM

Let's consider consequences

Dear Rabbi; I note some comments seem to think that fetus gender tests as no big deal because technicians have been able to get the same results from ultrasound. This fact is true. But the conclusion is short sighted, Gender selection by ultrasound have created a massive imbalance between males and females in China and India. The long term consequences are not yet testable but as one commentator says, "who will all those boys marry?". Demographers anticipate that this imbalance will will lead to rouge armies kidnapping females from other countries, people trafficking, prostitution and military conflict. Gender testing looks like a very bad idea for social equilibrium. Supporters of gender testing may do well to reconsider the consequences.

(7) Shalom, August 16, 2011 11:13 AM

Test the parents?

Test the parents? Why would we do that? We already know the gender of the parents.

(6) Rachel, August 16, 2011 4:44 AM

And I think you're wrong

People said the same about home pregnancy tests -- that the only reason women would want them is so they can get an abortion regardless of the gender of the child. FYI, my husband and I don't have parents or relatives who could do anything for us when our children was born, and so I DID want to know well in advance if I'd have to plan, organize, and pay for a bris. (And I'm sure you would agree that it's important for a Jewish boy to be circumcised properly, by a mohel, on the 8th day, rather than in a hospital, or whenever the exhausted new parents can get around to it.) This is my problem with this website -- too many of the contributors only know about things from their own little insular Orthodox perspective and don't know what it's like for those of us who don't have that kind of support system; who against the odds are trying to obey the Torah even though we were not raised knowing all about it. And really, Communist China HAS socially engineered their situation by their one child policy which penalizes families for having 2 or more kids, and by still providing better opportunities in society for men than for women (which is why people want to have sons who can take care of them financially in old age.)

(5) Claire, August 16, 2011 12:28 AM

You are 100% right

Dear Rabbi Salomon - you are so right. Everything you said - every word that you mentioned to describe this testing is on the mark. What has become of us? The only important thing is that the baby should be healthy - that's what every parent hopes for. It's all that should count. We are referring here to the greatest miracle and the greatest gift that Hashem could give us. Thank you once again dear Rabbi for your very wise and valuable opinion.

(4) Lisa, August 15, 2011 1:59 AM

It's a boy!!!! Again.....

I found out the sex of my baby.....albeit at the Dr.'s office. So if someone really wants to know if they are carrying pink or blue ( so they can abort) they dont need this new test...they could just waddle into their Dr.'s office & find out. So now its just easier & more high many things these days. I found out bc my parents live "out of town" & if it was a boy I wanted them on notice to get on that plane ASAP for the bris!! And I too wanted to know.....& for your information, it's a surprise if you know the sex 8 weeks in, 5 months in or wait till the day it's born!! It's all just a wonderful surprise!!!

Malka, August 19, 2011 7:59 PM

Mazal Tov Lisa!

(3) Adina, August 14, 2011 5:19 PM

Why the big deal?

Finding out the gender is nothing new. For the last 20 years it was possible to find out by ultrasound past 16 weeks or so. We found out what we were having at our 20 week ultrasound- the tech asked if we wanted to know and curiosity got the better of us, so we let her tell us it was a boy. What's so terrible about that? I agree it's silly to take a blood test to find this out even earlier when you might as well wait till it's visible on the sonogram, but what's the big deal if you want know?

(2) Chavi, August 14, 2011 3:55 PM

shidduch crisis

So whom are all those Chinese boys going to marry if all of the girl fetuses are aborted? Maybe some things should be left to G-d.

Elana Spezio, August 16, 2011 12:53 PM

surplus of chinese boys already here

Two comments. First, one actual result has been many Chinese women have attended college, had tutors, and had the 'advantages' traditionally showered on the eldest son, instead showered on them... as the couple's only child. This is good. Second, When any nation has such an imbalance of young males over females, wife hunting in other nations increases, nationalism gets inflated with all the re-focused testosterone, and that ethnic groups increases. War is often the instrument chosen to 'acquire' these 'wives.' The world lives in interesting times.

(1) SusanE, August 14, 2011 2:00 PM

The World is Becoming Unclear to Many People

Rabbi Salomon, I agree with everything you said. And like the home pregnancy tests, the gender kits come directly to your home. - - - - - - - - - - - There doesn't seem to be any 'clear cut' answers anymore. It used to be when I was little, that some things were good and some things were bad. Our parents spelled it out for us in black and white exactly what right and wrong looked like. If they were alive they would not recognize the world as it has become. Gender testing for babies in the womb......unless you plan to abort why is there a need to know? - - - - - - - - - - I take things even further, because I think some testing is dangerous in other ways, unless one is a high risk mother and testing can find something that can be fixed. ---------------- I don't see a reason even for sonar - ultrasound imaging just to take home a snapshot of your unborn child. Screaming those sound waves through those tiny developing organs and brains can't be good. - - - - - - - - - - Gender testing your baby for wall color and name choosing is unbelievable. Gender testing for selective birthing is unthinkable.


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