Whenever a couple is expecting a baby, everyone knows that a great deal of excitement goes along with it. There can be little doubt that one of the most exciting things about having a baby is finding out if it is a boy or a girl. Learning the gender of the baby is a big part of the fun of being an expecting parent. Sure, some parents wait all the way to the baby's birth to find out its gender, but a great many do not. In fact, throwing an entire party simply to reveal the gender of their baby has become popular in recent years.
However, what if a couple did not have to wait at all to learn their baby's gender? What if a couple could actually select the gender of their baby before it was born? This may sound hard to believe and a lot more like science fiction than reality, but it can and has happened. Gender selection is becoming increasingly popular and many people might be considering it. For anyone thinking of selecting the gender of their baby, here are 15 important things to consider first.
15 Stealing Resources From Women Who Need It
It was noted that only parents with fertility problems can use IVF. The problem is that this is just the ideal scenario. It would be possible for parents to use IVF for the sole purpose of gender selection, in theory anyway. It turns out that fertility doctors are not required to report the reasons parents are using their services.
That means there is not all that much to prevent people from using IVF simply to select a baby's gender, even if they don't have fertility issues. The question then becomes how that would affect people needing IVF for actual fertility reasons. The bulk of IVF resources could, theoretically, be used for mere gender selection, leaving couples with fertility problems in the lurch. Such things are not known to have happened yet, but are a valid concern.
14 It's Extremely Controversial Because...
It is pretty easy to imagine that the idea of selecting a baby's gender might be controversial. It is also not that hard to imagine why such a thing would be controversial. Many people think treatments like IVF are going against nature. They believe pregnancy should happen only naturally and not by means of science.
If people are against IVF, then one can only imagine how they feel about gender selection. There are those that think a baby's gender should be left up to nature. In their minds, gender selection of a baby is probably far too Frankenstein-like for them. Even some doctors tend to agree with that point of view.
13 The Side Effects Are Not So Pretty
Another thing to consider about selecting the gender of a baby is the side effects of fertility treatments. Many treatments for infertility will require a woman to take fertility drugs. As with pretty much any other kind of drug, fertility drugs have side effects. These side effects can be uncontrollable and possibly pretty bad.
Some of the side effects include weight gain and swelling. There is also a chance of bloating and blurred vision. All fertility drugs have their own unique side effects and women should speak with their doctors to figure out what the risks are. A woman needs to be aware of them before she considers taking fertility drugs.
12 It Puts The The Embryo In Danger
It has already been explained that selecting the gender of a baby can be done by genetic screening, which involves manipulating the embryo. The thing is, not all doctors particularly like that idea. Some doctors believe that genetic screening is risky for the embryo.
If a doctor is screening embryos simply for the purpose of selecting a gender, it could be argued that they are putting the embryo at an unnecessary risk. However, this may all be a bit overblown. There is no real evidence of an embryo being in danger from any kind of screening. Nevertheless, it is something that anyone wanting to select the gender of a baby needs to keep in mind before they decide what to do.
11 The Doctor Might Refuse
To some, selecting a baby's gender may seem like a wonderful idea. They might even be able to afford the price of the treatment. A couple may be all ready to select the gender of their baby using the methods of infertility treatments. There is just one thing standing in their way.
That one thing is that the couple does not actually have fertility problems. Any couple without fertility problems would be hard-pressed to find a doctor willing to give them infertility treatments. Having fertility problems is a major factor in being able to select the gender of a baby using infertility treatments. So if a couple does not have such issues, they might as well give up the idea of pre-selecting their baby's gender.
10 It's An Embryo Hunt
It has already been explained that selecting a baby's sex can be done with treatments like IVF. It is only natural that a person might be wondering just how that can be accomplished. It ultimately comes down to screening embryos, or what is known as preimplantation genetic testing.
In this process, a couple of cells are removed from an embryo that can be screened to determine a baby's sex. There are actually two kinds of screening that can be done. One is preimplantation genetic diagnosis and the other is preimplantation genetic screening. The kind of screening to be done depends on why someone wants to determine the sex of the baby, because this kind of testing is usually done to look for sex-specific genetic disorders.
9 It Can Be Done With Sperm Sorting
Yes, some doctors are opposed to gender-selecting. However, it is worth noting that many are only opposed to gender-selecting if it is done by genetic screening via IVF. There are other methods that they may approve of. One such method is sperm sorting, which is exactly what it sounds like.
That is basically sorting sperm, based on weight, that will be placed in an embryo to increase the chances of a particular sex. However, this is not exactly the best option for people in the United States. It is actually not legal in America, because the FDA has not approved it yet. Even if it were legal, the process typically does not work that well, according to doctors.
8 There Are Other Ways
Now here is a method of selecting a baby's gender that is perfectly legal. That is largely because it involves making babies the good old fashioned way. It is all about having sex either before or during ovulation. It may sound a little crazy, but doctors say there could be something to it.
The idea is that a couple would have sex just before ovulation if they want a girl and during ovulation for a boy. Doctors say this could work because female sperm, or those with an X chromosome, are heavier and slower, but more likely to survive than male sperm, which carry a Y chromosome. Therefore, timing sex in terms of a woman's ovulation could determine the gender of their baby. Of course, the key word there is could. Doctors say the odds of this actually working out as a couple wants it to is about 50/50.
7 It Could Make More Than One Baby
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There are other methods of selecting a baby's gender, although the most effective of them is using infertility treatments. As mentioned, things like that can only be done if a couple actually has fertility problems. Even if a couple is eligible to receive IVF, there are a few things to consider.
One of the main things is that IVF could lead to multiple births. That means a mom will end up carrying more than one baby. This is not limited to just twins or even triplets. Women have been known to give birth to as many as eight babies after using infertility treatments. That is certainly something anyone considering IVF needs to keep in mind.
6 More Dangerous For Older Women
There is one last thing to consider in terms of using infertility treatments for selecting a baby's gender. A great many people are aware that the older a woman gets, the more risky a pregnancy becomes. The same thing applies to fertility treatments. The older a woman gets, the riskier it becomes.
If a woman 35 years old or younger has IVF, she has about a 46% chance of having a live birth. That means giving birth to a happy, healthy baby. However, if a woman is over the age of 35, that percentage goes down and continues to decline the older a woman gets. That means a woman should seriously consider her age when thinking of having IVF.
5 Gender Imbalance Is Real
The thing about selecting a baby's gender is that it could have unintended consequences. We'd like to assume that anyone selecting a baby's gender has only good intentions. However, that does not mean only good will come of it. Gender selection could lead to gender imbalance.
That is to say that gender selection could cause an overabundance of either girls or boys. Specifically, some fear this could lead to many more boys than girls, rather than the other way around, because boys tend to be the more favored gender worldwide. There is no evidence of anything like this happening yet, but there are those that think it could happen one day.
4 It's A Slippery Slope
Perhaps the greatest unintended consequence of gender selection is what it could lead to. That is what some doctors are fearing. Some doctors believe that gender selection could lead down a slippery slope: if would-be parents could select the gender of their unborn baby, what else would they want to select?
In the future, a couple could possibly select things like hair color, eye color, and even height. If that were the case, then babies in the future would not be conceived so much as they would be designed. It is not hard to imagine how that notion might come across as creepy or disturbing to a lot of people. One can only hope such a thing does not actually occur.
3 Celebrities Have Done It
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It could be argued that gender selection is becoming more and more popular. One could even call it a fad. If that is the case, then as with many fads, it was probably popularized by celebrities. Celebrities have done gender selection in recent years.
In fact, celebrities likely brought the notion of selecting a baby's gender to the public's consciousness. Celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and her husband John have been open about selecting their baby's gender. Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West are suspected of having done it but have not publicly admitted to it. Both couples have received much backlash for what they have done or been believed to have done about gender selection.
2 It's A Money Pit
Whenever someone is planning on making a major decision, there are several factors they have to first consider. One big factor is how much that decision will cost. For those considering selecting the gender of their baby, they should know it can be quite costly. The high cost is due to what selecting gender entails.
One way of selecting a baby's gender is through infertility treatments. That includes things like in vitro fertilization or IVF. Treatments for infertility tend to be very pricey. The cost is often a hindrance for people wanting infertility treatments. Unfortunately, because it's not affordable, many couples have to put off their dreams of having children until they can get together the money for treatments.
1 A Healthy Pregnancy Is All That Matters
It almost goes without saying that selecting the gender of a baby is a controversial move. Most people are aware that not all would-be parents think such a thing should be done. However, people might be surprised to find out that not even all doctors agree with it. Nevertheless, that is the case.
Some doctors do not think they should be in the business of selecting gender. Many feel that a fertility doctor's goal should simply be a healthy pregnancy, not selecting a baby's gender. Of course, the notable exception to this is if a couple were actually in danger of having a child with a genetic disorder specific to gender. However, simply selecting a gender because of the parents' preference would not be acceptable to many doctors.
Sources: CNN.com, BabyCenter.com, Parents.com, Slate.com, TheImproper.com