The Government has refused to put measures in place that could catch illegal gender abortions – because it would cost too much and might upset mothers.
There is increasing concern that some women are having abortions in the UK just because their baby is a girl.
Lord Alton had asked the Government whether they would monitor the sex of babies being aborted.
But health minister Earl Howe said the measures would have cost implications and may upset women who have abortions.
The Government was this month urged to investigate, after an official study found a noticeable difference in birth rates for girls and boys according to the nationality of the mothers.
Earl Howe said in an answer to a parliamentary question from Lord Alton, “introducing testing to determine the sex of the foetus would require new laboratory tests, which would have a cost implication and require consent”.
Earl Howe also said such a test would cause “distress for some women at what is already a difficult and stressful time”.
Last year, a Daily Telegraph investigation uncovered evidence that gender-based abortions were taking place in the UK.
The paper found three instances of doctors offering to arrange abortions after being told that the women did not want the baby because of its sex.
On one occasion Prabha Sivaraman, who worked for both private clinics and NHS hospitals in Manchester, was filmed telling a woman: “I don’t ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termination.”
Former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said carrying out an abortion on the grounds of gender alone is “morally repugnant”.