Lots of women (and, yes, even men) have dreamt about what sort of—and how big of—a family they've wanted ever since they were little. Some dads want a "mini me" to throw the ball around with; others want a little girl to spoil, while moms might hope for a shopping partner to dress or a doting mama's boy. But not all couples have to leave whether they have a boy or girl up to chance.
Did you know that the United States is one of the few countries in the world to allow parents to choose their preferred gender of baby during In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)? It's called Pre-Implementation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), and after enough eggs are harvested for IVF, the eggs are implanted with sperm and only three days after fertilization scientists know whether the embryos will be boys or girls. A couple chooses which sex they prefer and only the embryos of the desired sex are inserted into the uterus (of course, a couple using IVF can choose to have both male and female embryos inserted as well).
England is one of the countries that still has a ban on this type of gender selection (other than in extreme medical cases where a horrible genetic condition is only passed down to one sex). But now some doctors are speaking out in the Telegraph, saying families have a right to choose their baby's sex regardless of their reasons.
I understand why people are scared of this sort of technology—it's something straight out of a sci-fi movie, where a crazy dictator decides to kill off all the women to form a "superior" race. And it's not that far from reality. If used in parts of the world where they prefer boys (like Asia), it could lead to a shortage in compatible mates. In China, where they highly favor boys, and there's a major push to abort female babies, The State Population and Family Planning Commission has already predicted by 2020 roughly 30 million Chinese men will be unable to marry on the account of gender imbalance.
That said, if I was given the chance would I want to choose whether my second child was a boy or girl? Yes! With my first, I was one of those people who truly didn't have a preference. I was just so happy to be pregnant that I didn't care what came out of me as long as it was healthy. Though, I knew friends who really had their hearts set one way or the other, and they were actually devastated when they found out that they were having the opposite of what they wanted. There was actually a period of mourning for a bit before they could truly be excited about their baby again.
Now that I have an amazing son, I would love to have a girl to see the other side of the baby bond. I could finally indulge in all of those fantasies of buying an adorable pink tutu and taking my daughter out for real tea with scones after years of imaginary tea party play. I'd have someone to pass down my mom's jewelry to, and to give advice about boys. In my dream scenario, I cut out the part about mother-daughter drama that inevitably comes with the teen years!
TELL US: If you were able to, would you choose to have a boy or girl, or would you leave it up to chance?
Image of twins courtesy of Shutterstock.