Is it a boy or a girl? Where before couples had to rely on luck to get the gender of the baby they desire, science has caught up and enables moms and dads to choose the sex of their baby. Thanks to the innovative procedure called gender selection.
What is Gender Selection?
As the name implies, gender selection is a procedure that allows parents to choose the gender of their baby. A number of low-tech and high-tech methods are available to do this. Among which are the Ericsson Method and the IVF with Preimplantation Genetic Screening, which are quite expensive, and the more affordable methods such as the Shettles Method, the Whellan Method, douching (to create a hospitable environment for Y chromosomes), and taking certain vitamins and mineral supplements or following special diets.
List of Pros of Gender Selection
1. It can prevent gender-related diseases.
Gender selection can prevent certain medical conditions, such as haemophilia (which occurs only in boys) and thalassemia, that are genetically related and gender specific from being passed on by the mother or the father to the baby.
2. It may help reduce abortion rate.
Unplanned pregnancy is not the only leading cause of abortion. Many doctors have reported that a number of parents opt for abortion after discovering the sex of their baby. This desire to produce a baby of a certain sex can lead to a cycle of abortion until the desired gender is achieved.
3. It allows couples to plan their family effectively.
Perhaps, one of the most positive things about the procedure is that it gives parents effective control over the number of children they want. In some countries like China, for example, where couples are only allowed one or two child, gender selection gives would-be parents the opportunity to have a male child who will carry the father’s family name.
List of Cons of Gender Selection
1. It is expensive.
Unlike natural selection which costs nothing, the medical procedure can cost too much. IVF alone can cost Up to $20,000. That is about several-years-worth of savings. Even Microsort, which is still an investigational technique, can cost around $3,500—and that’s in addition to the cost of the IVF!
2. It offers no assurance.
The technologies available do not guarantee accurate result, even IVF. A combination of IVF and PGD though does offer 100%, but then again, that would cost a lot of money. Are you sure you’re ready to break the bank?
3. It eliminates the element of surprise.
One of the fun things about learning that you are pregnant is guessing out the gender of your baby, and then enjoying that feeling of surprise later once you discover your baby’s actual gender.
4. It may lead to a heavily male-dominated population.
Ask any parent, especially fathers, what gender would they like to have for their first child, and you will likely get “male” as an answer. A survey in Hungary actually revealed that 87% of the 1,500 couples interviewed would want their first born to be male. In such case, we would be facing population imbalance, which could result to more problems.
Choosing to undergo the gender selection procedure is a special decision that you can make with your spouse. Weigh down its pros and cons carefully before making your decision.