For some, the sole wish of having a happy and healthy baby is not enough. The want for a boy or girl can become so consuming that some will go to great lengths to try and conceive a preferred gender. For those living in the U.S., where gender selection procedures are legal, choosing a particular sex is becoming an expensive (usually around $18,000 a pop) and increasingly popular option.
A recent Slate report highlights the growing trend of gender selection procedures couples are now undergoing in order to conceive a girl. There is evidence that a good majority of couples in the U.S. are more desperate to conceive girls rather than boys. Google data shows that “how to have a girl” is searched 3 times more often than “how to have a boy”. And a 2009 study shows that 70% of Caucasian Americans who undergo gender selection procedures want girls.
The article discusses the path of one anonymous mom took who had three boys and made several attempts at gender selection procedures costing almost $40,000 before ending up with her girl. This woman’s story is not so unusual when you look at the more than $100 million revenue fertility clinics rake in each year from gender selection procedures.
Some worry that gender selection procedures, which include egg retrieval surgeries and embryo transfers, exposes otherwise healthy women to unnecessary medical risks. Others also worry about the psychological effect gender selection can have on children born out of these procedures. Marcy Darnovsky, director of the Center for Genetics and Society in California explains, “It’s high-tech eugenics. If you’re going through the trouble and expense to select a child of a certain sex, you’re encouraging gender stereotypes that are damaging to women and girls. …What if you get a girl who wants to play basketball? You can’t send her back.”
How important was your child's gender when discussing family planning with your partner?
Do you think parents should be able to choose their child’s sex?