I haven’t tackled a topic like this in a while. But, y’all, I can’t write about pretty graveyards and fall hikes all the time.
Today I read this story about an Australian woman who traveled to the United States to undergo in vitro fertilization and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to achieve her desired goal: a baby girl. “The process involves harvesting a woman’s eggs, injecting each one individually with sperm, then growing the embryo from a single cell to around 130 cells, at which point it’s possible to tell whether the chromosomes are XX or XY. Only embryos of the desired sex are transferred to the uterus.”
Here’s just one example of a facility in our country that provides this service. From their website: “While the desire to choose whether a baby would be a boy or a girl has been present throughout human existence, it is only recently that the technology to do so has become clinically possible and available. With improvements in gender selection technology, demand for gender selection has also been growing steadily.” There’s that slippery slope that I’m always being told is a logical fallacy! It goes on to say, “Sometimes gender selection can be “non-medical” or “elective.” In such cases, a child of a specific gender is desired without obvious medical indications. The most frequent indication for such gender selection is “family balancing,” when one gender is already represented in the family unit and the other gender is desired.”
Which makes me say, WHY IS THIS LEGAL AND WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?
Y’all, please understand, after three boys in a row I was very much hoping #5 would be a girl. I also was hoping #4 would be a girl! Instead we got William, and unlike the lady from Down Under, I did not “[sob] with disappointment to discover I was having a second son … and then a third.” Anyway, I understand the DESIRE for a daughter. But most of us just suck it up and appreciate the children we have. Maybe we accept that God knows what he is doing and set about parenting the kids we were lucky enough to get. Maybe we realize we should be grateful for conceiving in the first place and for producing a healthy baby of any gender. Remember when our mothers were having kids, and there was no way to know in advance what they were having, what they said when people asked if they wanted a boy or a girl? “I don’t care what it is as long as it’s healthy.” I haven’t heard that in a long time; have you?
“I know that, to a childless woman struggling with infertility, I might seem ungrateful because I already have three healthy sons. But 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.” If “gender disappointment” was so “crippling” to her, what she needed was not a daughter, it was therapy and lots of it. She doesn’t just SEEM ungrateful, she IS ungrateful. One can only imagine what her sons will think of all this when they come across this article online in the future–if they don’t already sense her feelings toward them now.
And what about that little girl, who has a lot of expectations heaped upon her already? My Facebook post on this topic has generated some indignant comments. One person said, “I hope the little girl likes karate instead of ballet!” Well, you know, since ALL KIDS tend to do the unexpected, and since they are, you know, INDIVIDUALS, that’s just as likely as not. There’s no one kind of “girl” and no one kind of “boy,” which is why I always find these stories about “gender balance” so ridiculous, and why I always think it’s funny when people think one boy and one girl is the ideal complete family. My three boys are NOTHING alike. My girls are not much alike either, and their gender is only one part of what makes them unique and special.
There is so much about this story that is disgusting. The fact that she paid $50,000 for this procedure. That could have been used to send one of her boys to college. Or to fund the adoption of a daughter. The fact that this is a for-profit venture in the first place. From an article in Slate:
“Just over a decade ago, some doctors saw the potential profits that could be made. . . They coined the phrase “family balancing” to make sex selection more palatable. They marketed their clinics by giving away free promotional DVDs and setting up slick websites. These fertility doctors have turned a procedure originally designed to prevent genetic diseases into a luxury purchase akin to plastic surgery. Gender selection now rakes in revenues of at least $100 million every year. The average cost of a gender selection procedure at high-profile clinics is about $18,000, and an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 procedures are performed every year. Fertility doctors foresee an explosion in sex-selection procedures on the horizon, as couples become accustomed to the idea that they can pay to beget children of the gender they prefer.”
Then there is the immorality of the procedure itself. What happened to all those little boy embryos, after all? They were discarded. Her own children, and she threw them away BECAUSE THEY WERE BOYS. And where is all this headed? Do you really believe that selecting for other desired qualities won’t be a thing in the future? From the Slate article: “In 2009, [Dr.]Steinberg came under a worldwide media firestorm when he announced on his website that couples could also choose their baby’s eye and hair color, in addition to gender. He revoked the offer after receiving a letter from the Vatican.” Thank God for the Vatican, is all I can say.
Says the happy mother/satisfied client: “It’s not about playing God, it’s about giving women reproductive freedom.” Um, no. It IS about playing God. And it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.