Animal Sex Selection a Booming Business

At XY Inc. (search), choosing the sex of a cow is as simple as the push of a button.

The Fort Collins, Colo., company, run by Dr. Mervyn Jacobson (search), specializes in "family planning" for animals. Inside XY's patented flow cytometer — or no-flow — sperm are separated into those carrying X chromosomes for female and Y chromosomes for male.

"You make your selection and hit the right button and you've got your cells separated," said XY lab technician Kathy Mean.

The sperm is then used to fertilize a female. XY's results have a 90 percent success rate.

"We're predetermining the sex of the offspring by selecting sperm," Jacobson said. "If you need females we can help you produce just females."

The global impact of what XY does can't be overstated. Selective breeding, the show animal industry and the effort to preserve endangered species have made animal sex selection a multibillion-dollar industry.

And the practical value of sex selection can be seen in the agricultural industry, which has little use for male dairy cows.

Jacobson stresses that he is not playing God, because sperm sorting is not related to cloning (search) or genetic manipulation.

"This is normal sexual reproduction with a male and a female, a sperm and an egg," he said.

He also pointed out that some countries destroy animals of unwanted genders.

"From one point that's incredibly wasteful. Economically it's wasteful, and from a humanitarian point of view it's incredibly pointless," he said.

Jacobson said he hopes the technology evolves to ensure that every animal offspring is a wanted offspring.

Click on the video box at the top of this story for FOX News' Alicia Acuna's full report.