Assessment of termination of pregnancy on grounds of the sex of the foetus: response to Serious Crime Act 2015

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Department of Health. Sexual Health Team
Department of Health
Date of publication
1 August 2015
Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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The Serious Crime Act 2015 contains a requirement that an assessment be carried out into evidence of gender abortions occurring in England, Wales and Scotland. This report responds to that requirement and sets out the actions and evidence that have been considered in undertaking the assessment. The assessment includes updated birth ratio analysis for 2009 to 2013.

The issue of gender abortions is of worldwide concern. The general consensus is that a male to female birth ratio of around 105 (that is 105 male births per 100 female) is normal. However, a number of factors can influence the sex of the child including maternal and paternal age, coital rates, number of children, and sex of previous children. Some experts consider that ratios above 107 cannot occur naturally, and a birth ratio of 107 has been used as the threshold in this assessment.

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