Illegal abortions are being offered in some clinics based on the sex of the unborn child, it has been claimed.
Officials from the Department of Health have launched an investigation into the allegations made by the Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper said its reporters had gone with pregnant women to nine clinics around the UK.
In three cases, it claims that doctors were recorded agreeing to illegally grant a termination after the mother said she wanted to end the pregnancy because of the sex of the foetus.
The doctors were also allegedly filmed saying that they would arrange false paperwork for the abortions.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley said he was “extremely concerned” about the allegations, adding: “Sex selection is illegal and is morally wrong. I’ve asked my officials to investigate this as a matter of urgency.”
Under UK law, abortions are only allowed in certain cases, such as when continuing with the pregnancy would pose a risk to the woman’s life, physical or mental health or if there is a real risk that the child may be born with a serious physical or mental disability.