Medical ethics are being debated over news that US doctors are reportedly researching the effect of an experimental steroid on pregnant women in a bid to prevent their children from becoming lesbians.

According to the Hastings Center’s Biioethics Forum, the research also apparently aims to stop female children from having a lack of interest in babies or refusing to play with girl’s toys and from not wanting to be mothers or pursuing careers that are too “masculine”.

The steroid dexamethasone is meant to be used in cases where there is an abnormal excess of androgens in the female foetus, but some doctors believe that the hormone could also “prevent” homosexuality or bisexuality.

Paediatric endocrinologist Maria New, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Florida International University, and her collaborator, psychologist Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg, of Columbia University, have been researching this theory and have published papers on the subject.

Most medical experts have rejected the use of the drug for the purposes of specifically trying to affect a child’s sexual orientation, also pointing out that its use remains experimental and “risky”.

“So… no more Martina Navratilovas, no more k.d. langs, no more Constance McMillens—because all women must grow up to suck dick, crank out babies, and do women’s work,” wrote an outraged Dan Savage.

“And the existence of adult women who are not interested in ‘becoming someone’s wife’ and ‘making babies’ constitutes a medical emergency that requires us to treat women who are currently pregnant with a dangerous experimental hormone,” the columnist and author wrote.

There is also reportedly research underway on the use of the steroid to affect sexual orientation among male foetuses.

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