Gender Testing Pros and Cons
Couples are usually over the moon when they discover they are expecting a baby (of course we cannot discount the many unplanned pregnancies that might come as a bit of a shock). Nevertheless, many of us were unplanned babies and we were loved and pampered just as much as our “planned” siblings. So unusually, once pregnant, most moms and dads get that nibbling need to find out the gender of their baby. Will it be a girl or boy?
Some couples seek to quash their questions and doubts as soon as possible and carry out some form of gender test. This can be done using either an ultrasound (albeit, you have to wait till round about your 18th week) or perhaps using other types of tests. But what are the pros of baby gender testing? Why do some couples want to find out and others do not.
Reasons why couples might want to find out
Of course, the first reasons that undoubtedly spring to mind are curiosity. Yes, curiosity is probably the main reason why people carry out gender tests. They just cannot wait an entire nine months to find out. They may also want to get things sorted as early as possible. Once they know the gender of their baby, off they set shopping for the right baby clothes and choosing the ideal names.
There are of course somewhat more serious reasons why couples might want a gender test. If they have had a previous child in the family, perhaps their own, who suffered from an illness or genetic condition that was specific to just males or females, they might want to have a gender test done to know whether they have anything to worry about with their current pregnancy. One such condition which only males suffer from is muscular dystrophy. Another is hemophilia. Knowing early about this can help doctors ensure a safe delivery.
Imagine you were desperate for a baby boy after having had two girls. You fall pregnant and discover it is yet again a girl. Would you consider terminating the pregnancy? Ethical issues also about and gender tests have in fact, drawn criticism. In some parts of the world (namely china and India), where societies are heavily patriarchal and the birth of the girl is a huge burden, couples intentionally seek gender testing with the intent of aborting the fetus if it is female.
Those couples who opt not to find out
For some couples, the thought of a gender test is a real dampener on the whole pregnancy experience. These couples enjoy musing and guessing and feel that one of the greatest moments will happen at the nine month, when after all those weeks of anticipation, the midwife announces “It’s a baby girl”.
Other couples consider themselves blessed to be able to have a baby no matter how easy or hard getting pregnant was. They feel that they should be grateful for any baby and just hope for the delivery of a strong healthy child. They feel that wanting to know the sex of the baby would be a selfish endeavor. These moms and dads to be, feel very hurt when they hear people being upset after carrying out a gender test. The internet is full of chat forums and blogs where moms discuss their let-downs; “I am having a girl but I wanted a boy, please help”.
Further to this, some argue that parents who opt for baby gender testing tend to be more likely to reinforce gender roles and stereotypes. They begin building their expectations once they know whether it will be pink or blue. A browse through baby shops will clearly show you how hard it is to find clothes and baby accessories that are suited to either sex.
Really, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to know and carrying out a gender test. What are important are your reasons for wanting to do this.
Helen McArthur is a part time free lance writer specializing in pregnancy and prenatal care. Helen worked as a nurse in the prenatal care unit for several years before putting her career on hold to look after her kids. A number of articles by the author can be found in the article repository for: homeDNAdirect Canada