The problem of “missing girls” persists in parts of the world where families prize sons over daughters. Technology, in many cases, worsens the problem. Widely available ultrasound equipment, which makes it easy to detect the sex of a fetus, allows people to circumvent legal bans on sex-selective abortion. “Doctors or technicians can make hints without saying a word,” says Sonya Davey, CEO of Ultrasafe Ultrasound.

Her organization—a startup founded by an international team of college...

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