Baby gender

The prevailing rhetoric goes like this: "I'll be happy with a healthy baby, no matter if it's a boy or a girl." And while most expecting couples would say they agree with that sentiment, some say—either out loud or privately—that they can't truly be happy without giving birth to a baby of a particular gender.

Thanks to modern science, couples can now do something to influence the outcome—at least if they're willing to throw a lot of money at the issue, as one Australian family recently did.

Jayne and Jon Cornwill mortgaged their house, flew to California from Australia, and spent about $50,000 on technology called "pre-implantation genetic diagnosis" that would allow them to choose the sex of their baby at the beginning of pregnancy—something that's illegal in their own country. Already parents to three boys between them, Jayne said the couple's vision for their future always included boths sons and daughters.

"My husband wanted a little girl that one day he could walk down the aisle. I wanted a daughter so that I could have that relationship — the bond between a mother and daughter, our sons both wanted a little sister, and it was just for us completing our family puzzle," she said on Australia's Today show.

She said she fell into a deep depression related to wanting a daughter and having only sons, calling to light the concept of so-called "gender disappointment" some parents say they experience. In an essay in the Sydney Morning Herald, she wrote, "Unless you've experienced gender disappointment, you can't understand how crippling it can be. My desire for a daughter caused me to spiral into depression and left me virtually housebound. Every time I went out, toddlers in pink seemed to taunt me."

She also said she knows that by speaking out, she (and other parents like her) may be judged mercilessly for what's perceived as attempting to play god, and ingratitude for their ability to have healthy children of any gender. But, she said, "It's not about playing God, it's about giving women reproductive freedom."

So let's hear from you: Is it OK to use technology to choose your baby's gender?

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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Alesandra Dubin is a mom to boy-girl twins, as well as a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.