Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On Choosing Your Baby's Gender

I wrote this a while back, in response to a conversation with someone who seemed to think that using medical technology for gender selection is somehow "wrong".

I entirely disagree.

I had two daughters and if I had not gotten lucky with having my son the third try, I was seriously considering intervention for another attempt. It's nothing personal, I just *really* wanted to have both genders of children.

And I do.

And I'm glad.

But I don't judge people who take the choice into their own hands.

The letter that follows are my personal opinions.


As it’s been stated over and over again, yes- gender selection has been going on for centuries. Probably longer than there is written history. And what have been the result of the babies- primarily girls- that were unwanted? They were left out in the elements to be eaten by wild animals, drowned, aborted from the womb and sold (often into slavery of one kind or another). There aren’t words to describe how senseless and atrocious that is.

If someone is so determined that they can only have one child and/or one gender- then at least this way there is not a child- recognizably of human form- who suffers a painful death or a lifetime of misery.

You can’t change the way someone will parent their child. It’s horrible, maybe that’s wrong. But the alternate is forcibly not allowing those people to become parents- and I think most people would find that more ethically wrong. It’s better that the unwanted daughter is never born, then they languish in the knowledge they were unwanted.

That being said, in countries where there are fewer women- for whatever reason- it would seem at least to some degree the women win out. There are more men who want and need them. Even if it’s purely from a reproductive reason.

Yes, it’s dumb that it happens, but if you look at the history of China- many of the parents didn’t decide they only wanted one child and a son- they were limited by their communistic, dictatorship government. Their dictator decided that they had an overpopulation problem and rather than coming up with more creative solutions- like maybe give people a chance to improve their lives (that would be capitalism) so they could take care of their own children- or put more money back into their economy (that would make too much sense) the dictator commanded them to only have one child- or else!

And from we know of what results from that kind of government- the ‘or else’ could mean anything from being fined, being fired, losing your home, jail time, torture, having your child forcibly taken away, or death. In that society also- only the males are allowed to inherit their family wealth, business or land. Therefore- it wasn’t just a matter of “more male soldiers”, it was ‘keeping the home, the land, the money and security’ in the family.
If you consider that means when the only child you have- a daughter marries- if the father is dead- the daughter’s mom is completely dependant on the charity of her new son-in-law or any extended family she has to take care of her for the rest of her life! Scary!

This used to be the case here in America- but because of the kind of democratic- republic based government here and capitalism, which allows a person to rise above where they were born in the financial world- we were able to use our rights, freedoms and power as the people- to change that stupid rule and as a result- the only effect a family having a child has in America now- is deciding what color to paint the baby’s room.
If a couple want to have 15 children (and it was widely published in the news the couple who did) you can! If they’re all girls- or mostly girls (which they were mostly girls) you just end up with a house with more pink baby bedrooms! (or whatever color the girls grow up to like)

It’s really NOT a common problem here for a large group of people to only want a boy, or boys. And goodness knows- especially in America’s society- the more guys a girl has to choose between- the better chances she has of getting a decent one, and the more inclined the guys are to be decent.

As for the ‘concern’ about feminists getting mad about gender selection and people wanting to balance out their families by having a son- are you serious!?!?!? Out of all the things in the world- or in this issue- to worry about- is that REALLY what keeps you awake at night??? Sorry, I gotta laugh about that.
Let’s not over dramatize here. Some families may simply want BOTH genders. After having had two or more of one gender, to round out their family, they may want assurance of having a brother or sister for their other children. I don’t see a thing wrong with that.

Personally, the people I’ve met in my life who have grown up with a brother AND a sister knew how to relate better to both genders or at least had more realistic expectations of their future relationships with both males and females.

Some families are prone to having only one gender. A family that historically only has boys would greatly benefit from being able to have girls as well. And I’ve known more than one family that had four or more daughters before having a son, or never getting to have a son a all.

I think the statement of “fate or nature” determining it- is as dumb as saying that since a person was born deaf they shouldn’t be allowed to have the medical help available now to have the gift (or right) of hearing. Medical advantages are available now that have wonderfully improved and enriched people’s lives.

We are not talking about “Gattica” :where everything down to eyelash color is pre-selected. We’re talking about the desire to have the bond of a relationship to a child- often within an existing family.

And since there seem to be just as many people anxious to have girls as boys, and vica versa- I think this is going against nature about as much as using medical intervention to prevent deaths in childbirth; save someone suffering a heart attack, or rid a person’s body of fatal cancer.
The goal is still to improve the quality of life. We should all feel lucky to life in a time when such things are possible.

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