Last night 60 minutes featured a story on a family with seven sons who flew to the US for the controversial procedure known as gender selection to have a daughter.
Gender selection is not only discouraged in Australia – it is illegal.
Many obstetricians argue that couples should be allowed to undergo the procedure if they want to balance their family. However ethicist’s maintain that gender is a chance you take when having children and you should not be allowed to choose gender for lifestyle reasons.
As many of you know, I had 3 boys before I had a little girl.
We had always planned on having 3 children so when we found out our third was another boy I admit, I was disappointed. In fact I remember trying desperately not to cry. I was so happy that I had a healthy baby but genuinely grieved that I would probably never have a daughter.
My mum tried to cheer me up and took me shopping. I wandered through the shops looking for cute little boy things to try and conjur up some excitement. I couldn’t. I didn’t need anything. I already had 2 boys.
When we got home I retrieved all my baby stuff from the cupboard. In the process I stumbled across a small bag of girl clothes that I had collected each time I had fallen pregnant (just in case). I honestly felt like my heart broke when I put aside those girl things to give away. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a daughter that I would never have.
I never told any one this at the time because I didn’t want people to think I was being ungrateful or selfish. In fact I turned my phone off for a few days because I couldn’t face anyone.
It wasn’t the pink dresses and ballet classes that I longed for – it was to experience a mother-daughter relationship. My mum and I are very close and I always imagined that I would have the same relationship with my own child.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want another son it was just that I desperately wanted a daughter.
Now she is 9 months old I still pinch myself that she’s here and am often overwhelmed with thankfulness (even in my current sleep-deprived state).
Would we have tried gender selection if no.4 had also been a boy? Probably not. But I completely understand why someone in my shoes would choose to use this technology.
Gender selection opens up a can of worms which is why Australia is reluctant to embrace the technology. If we start to choose gender then what next? Hair and eye color? Intelligence? The question is at what point does the idea of a ‘designer baby’ start to get wierd.