To say why not use IVF to choose the sex of a baby?

(423 Posts)
Poppycattlepetal Wed 03-Jul-13 06:26:47

If people could save up for the IVF required, just don't see who else's business is it if they have a boy or a girl baby, really?

It seems U that we are not legally allowed to try for this in Britain. Clearly, we'd not all choose boys. See this mother of five sons in the Indy today:

It is allowed in US to do this, and you don't hear of a population imbalance over there. Just what seems like an incannily high proportion of celebrities who have twins, one of each!

I do get the issues about things being very different in other countries where there can be a cultural pressure to have sons of course. And i'm only talking about methods used before pregnancy begins. And obviously this would have to be genuinely freely chosen. Just feel that as the majority in the UK doesn't share any particular preference, why not let the people who do really mind, have the choice?

ImagineJL Wed 03-Jul-13 06:42:03

Well I just think it feels wrong, can't really explain why, and I also think we probably would end up with a population imbalance.

Having said that, I do think it should be permitted in situations where people are carriers of genetic diseases that only affect one sex, rather than having risky post-conception tests that can cause miscarriage.

I'm not sure about other situations. For example, I hate those cases on TV in which someone has 4 of one sex and desperately wants the opposite sex, then they cry at the scan when they learn they're having a 5th of the same sex again. I feel so sorry for the child born in that situation, always resented for being the wrong sex. So maybe people who can prove after psychiatric assessments that they will be depressed if they don't get the sex they want could be eligible to choose? But then I think well if people are that scared of getting the "wrong" sex for no reason other than a personal desire (ie not a hereditary disease) then perhaps they just shouldn't have any more kids!

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 06:47:03

If you want to buy the 'right' baby then you shouldn't be having one IMO.

Bunbaker Wed 03-Jul-13 06:50:23

Because it would be massive abused and misused. Remember when all those baby girls were left to die in China?

In countries where the culture values baby boys over baby girls there would be a huge imbalance in population.

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 06:51:04

We are so used to choice and ordering life the way we want it that some people simply can't accept that a baby isn't similar, it isn't a commodity or a possession.
It is also very selfish to take up resources when you don't need them and they take away from those who do.
Money can't buy everything.
You sound like the person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 06:53:38

MNetters would mainly have girls- they seem to be the favoured ones to be dressed like dolls and mothers best friend when older! (Judging by posts on here)
I think it is utterly wonderful that you have no choice and get what you are given.

katiecubs Wed 03-Jul-13 06:57:53

YABU - having a child full stop is a gift. Sex shouldn't matter and if it does then don't have any.

PoppadomPreach Wed 03-Jul-13 07:01:08

YABU - if you want a particular sex so badly you'll do anything to stop having the other sex, you are not fit to be a parent.

Poppycattlepetal Wed 03-Jul-13 07:03:18

I take your point Imagine but I think that here, where there's a test available that would allow a genetic condition to be avoided, then parents can be offered it by the NHS. It's where there is no medical reason for preferring one over the other that it's not allowed.

Bunbaker you are right about China and that imbalance will have very difficult consequences for many people in society down the line there. But I do feel that here in UK we have different cultural view of boys v. girls and not everyone would choose to have a boy baby here.

itsallshitandmoreshit Wed 03-Jul-13 07:04:11

I think it should be allowed with certain strict criteria in situ. And obviously it is private so would not be taking resources away from anyone else.

I think very, very few families want a child of one sex only so I don't think it would have any major implications. In the US the actual stats of sex selection are 50/50 boy/girl anyway.

StupidFlanders Wed 03-Jul-13 07:05:28

That famous ethicist (?) agrees with you and felt it wouldn't create imbalance as it hasn't where it is being used.

He also argued it would prevent "late" abortions/killing of babies which will hapen otherwise so again, won't change the already existing imbalance in some places.

I think he said the people who would most likely use it would be people who had a child (or chikdren) already and would like one more of the other sex.

I don't have a problem with it personally if you already have a child/ren.

There is a clinic in the UK which offers such treatment, but you are right OP, the 'implantation' of the embryo cannot be carried out in Britain-I think it was Turkey and it is over £10k a cycle.

StupidFlanders Wed 03-Jul-13 07:10:03

Damn sorry- I should have read your link! Yanbu!

I don't have a problem with it. I have one boy and one girl and didn't much care about their gender so it's easy for me to say people should just be happy with what they get. It's easy for me to say no one should care. But if they do, and they are paying for it, I don't see what the problem is either.

I think this is a preferable choice to a woman ending up with 8 sons/daughters that were only ever conceived in the hope they'd be the other gender.

bellablot Wed 03-Jul-13 07:13:28

What exoticfruits has said!

And you can already do that In this country when people carry genetic diseases, it's happening as we speak.

scaevola Wed 03-Jul-13 07:14:43

The number of abortions so late as to be illegal in UK is vanishingly small, so I do not think there is adequate grounds to make such a change.

The views of the majority of ethicists - who are against this - need to be set against the one with atypical views.

Tests performed because of serious medical need are a totally different category than selecting a baby because of gender. And I mean gender, not sex.

ImagineJL Wed 03-Jul-13 07:25:56

Actually I think it probably wouldn't cause a population imbalance, for the simple reason that very few people would choose to have IVF if they didn't need to. Having done several cycles of IVF myself, I am certain that the vast majority of the population would rather take pot luck on the sex of their baby and conceive naturally, than put themselves through the hell of IVF.

ImagineJL Wed 03-Jul-13 07:26:21

It still feels wrong to me though.

Tattle Wed 03-Jul-13 07:27:00

if its available then then people will buy it.
To me it feels wrong to be test tubing purely to choose a babies sex,it's against nature and anything that is does have an effect somewhere down the line.

Badvoc Wed 03-Jul-13 07:29:16

A form of Eugenics, surely?

badfaketan Wed 03-Jul-13 07:29:34

IVF is such a gruelling process with a high price and low success rate that I doubt many women would want to do this just to have a particular sex so even if it was allowed,so I doubt it would cause an imbalance.
If you have a yearning for one particular sex it is often because you have at least one of the other.
I don't object to IVF for this.

ShadeofViolet Wed 03-Jul-13 07:31:20

You start with the sex and then what next? Being able to choose hair colour, eye colour etc.

Having a baby shouldnt be like picking out Ikea furniture.

sashh Wed 03-Jul-13 07:41:17

Because a baby isn't a commodity to be bought / sold.

And because the article was all about the parents, not about the human being they are going to produce who may not self identify with the sex the parents have chosen.

My parents wanted a girl, my paternal grandparents wanted a girl (they only had boys), I was born a girl.

But I'm not the girl they wanted. I have been and continue to be a great disappointment because I have not lived my life the way my family thinks a girl / woman should.

I have never walked down an aisle to be given away by my father, according to my mother this is something he has dreamed about since I was born.

When I meet up with my parents if I'm wearing a skirt I'm told I look nice, but only if I'm wearing a skirt.

It took me a long time to realise that it was not my fault I was a disappointment it was their fault for having certain ideas about women.

I could understand wanting sex selection in historical times when a boy would inherit.

But these days, apart from work on a submarine, or actually give birth yourself there is virtually nothing that your sex stops you doing.

So why have a preference? Because of gender. Because some parents have very fixed ideas about male / female roles.

The woman in the article has 5 healthy children. Why isn't that enough?

DragonMamma Wed 03-Jul-13 07:41:31

Having one of each, I can't preach that people should be happy with what they have etc, and I think gender disappointment is a very valid feeling for a lot of women.

I know a woman who has 3 boys and has paid an awful lot to have gender selection in the US, has fallen pregnant with female embryos only to miscarry on her return here. She was devastated but booked another trip as soon as funds allow. I can't see that it is good for your physical or mental health to put yourself and your family through this in her quest for a daughter.

Meerkatwhiskers Wed 03-Jul-13 07:48:01

As shadeofviolet said, you start with sex but it won't stop there. People will want to change eye and hair colour. It opens the door to true designer babies and that's just wrong. It's not what IVF was invented for and i'm sure the pioneers would not want to see theie 'baby' being used in that way.

Meerkatwhiskers Wed 03-Jul-13 07:48:22

*their grr

ThisWayForCrazy Wed 03-Jul-13 08:02:47

We are not talking about whether something could/should be done, it is done. It's possible. Just not in the UK. And where it is available its not abused. In a country where it very well could be.

I agree with you OP. but I would want limitations on it. Not first/second child. Or if there is a genetic reason one sex would be more preferable.

As a mother with 6 boys in her life I'd like to "buy" the "right" child as people so eloquently put it. I wouldn't personally describe it in that way. It makes it sound like our boys are worthless, which is not the case at all.

ssash that was a very eloquent and moving post! You're parents should be very proud of you and more importantly you should be very proud of yourself.

I am uncomfortable with the whole gender selection thing, but to the poster who said "eugenics", we already practice eugenics. That's the whole point and why so many people were against IVF and genetic screening in the first place. It's a question of, once the technology is available, where does it lead and where do we draw the line? The truth is, that the line is already so blurred that I think some people can't see it anymore. If we screen for gender, then do we screen for eye colour, what about children with ginger hair - they are more likely to get bullied, what about children with a gene increasing their likelihood of developing breastcancer at a later date in life, what about children who have a percentage chance of developing diabetes etc, etc, etc.

AnythingNotEverything Wed 03-Jul-13 08:07:45

Just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

This feels like a step too far for me.

JumpingJackSprat Wed 03-Jul-13 08:08:40

What theyre basically saying is that the babys sex is the most important thing about them. poor kid.

heidihole Wed 03-Jul-13 08:10:23

YANBU I agree with you. In the USA I think you are only allowed to use it to balance your family. Ie you can use it on your first child. If it was the same here I don't see the problem

BabyMakesMyEyesGoSleepy Wed 03-Jul-13 08:23:15

I agree with it in gender specific abnormalities but something about using it to balance a family (hmm ) just doesn't sit right.

I agree with sashh - if someone is that desperate for a baby of a particular gender then what happens when the real live human being they get doesn't match up to the fantasy gender stereotype the parents had in their heads?

And with JumpingJackSprat - no one would ever let you say "well, we have three blonde-haired children already, so we want to balance our family by having a brunette" or "our existing children are all tall and we fancy having one who's more petite". It makes the child's gender the most - indeed, the only - significant thing about them. And it just isn't, unless there are sex-linked genetic disorders in the family.

Tailtwister Wed 03-Jul-13 08:26:43

So if you have children of one sex there's something imbalanced about your family? Now I've heard it all!

IVF should be used for those with fertility problems and to assist people who have a risk of inherited disease in their family. There should be no need to select a particular sex.

Trills Wed 03-Jul-13 08:29:27

saash made a very good post.

I think that if you are too desperate for a child of a particular sex you will be (obviously) a poorer parent of a child of the undesired sex, but also a poorer parent of a child of the desired sex, because there will be too many expectations on their behaviour matching the "ideal" in your head.

Unless the reason you want a boy is because you haven't had the experience of cleaning up poo round a tiny scrotum, that is.

Ubermumsy Wed 03-Jul-13 08:37:31

OP, there's a new test (can't remember if it's a maternal blood test or an amnio) which reliably detects the gender of the baby very early on - 7 weeks, I think. Would that be acceptable too? And if not, why not?

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 08:42:34

Balance your family? hmm I think MN is addictive because you get all these odd notions.

Burmobasher Wed 03-Jul-13 08:50:08

Yabvu, be grateful for whichever sex you get. Both are equally brilliant

SmallSherryforMedicinal Wed 03-Jul-13 09:00:27

Why can't women work on submarines? sassh

The 'balancing your family' thing is plain weird. Families come in all shapes, sizes and gender mixes. There is no such thing as a 'balanced' family.

And I agree that parents may very well be disappointed in the boy/girl they actually get because they don't live up to the gender stereotype they wanted.

Women can work on submarines now apparently. Apparently the reasoning in the past was that women were more susceptible to the build up of carbon dioxide on submarines than men. Pregnant women still aren't allowed on submarines.

melika Wed 03-Jul-13 09:18:29

As someone already mentioned it is legal in US, only a matter of time for here. Is it coincidence that certain famous celebrities get what gender they wanted?

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Wed 03-Jul-13 09:31:26

I think that in the UK those able to afford it would use it to have female babies. It would lead to a skewed girl/boy birth rate plus it seems wrong that the wealthier should have the privilege of engineering their families.

QueenofallIsee Wed 03-Jul-13 09:35:00

It has very real consequences in generations to come if widely available - why stop at selectly gender? Why not apply your preferences when it comes to common racial factors or what you think marks our people as intelligent? On the face of it, it seems OK to choose a boy or a girl, but in my opinion you are leading society down a path where you can just weed out anything that 'someone' considers undesirable.

specialsubject Wed 03-Jul-13 09:37:41

didn't know it was legal in America, scary.

I understand that it is being done on the edge of the law in India. As a result there is a generation coming with too few women. A rather extreme method of population control.

the poster who talks about 'not being the girl they wanted' makes a very good point. As do those who say that if you mind which type you get for anything other medical reasons, you aren't fit to be a parent.

Poppycattlepetal Wed 03-Jul-13 09:40:20

sashh thanks for posting and I'm so sorry you have had such a hard time because of your parents' expectations.

ubermumsy I think abortion raises a lot of different issues per se, yes, so I was just asking about IVF and choosing the sex of a baby here.

We can all agree that sexist parenting is not good for children or parents. I'm just not convinced that e.g. the mum in the article who has 5 boys is such a dangerous sexist that she should be legally stopped from having a daughter, which is what this situation amounts to.

ophelia275 Wed 03-Jul-13 09:49:35

I think the real reason why they don't allow it in this country is probably because most people would choose to have a girl and that would unbalance demographics (look at China where boys are favoured and they are apparently missing something like 20 million females and there are millions of men who will not find a wife because of this).

LandaMc Wed 03-Jul-13 10:16:15

YANBU - I've often thought the same thing. There's nothing wrong with wanting a balanced family and it's all preconception so no ethical issues. The test just filters out one sex of sperm. It used to be legal here until a bunch of lobbyists got over excited looking for an issue to play with.

littlepeas Wed 03-Jul-13 10:17:06

I remember the documentary the woman in the link was on. I found it very disturbing.

badfaketan Wed 03-Jul-13 10:18:16

Why do people think it would be used here to have a girl?Are girls more favoured here?
Genuine question.
As someone with sisters only I know that my parents would have wanted a boy if they had had more children (but none of us ever felt parental disappointment that we weren't).
I've also heard mothers of 2 girls say that they would have a 3rd if a boy could be guaranteed,and mothers with 1 of each stopping at 2 for that reason.

xylem8 Wed 03-Jul-13 10:29:34

I really can't see a problem with it

BabyMakesMyEyesGoSleepy Wed 03-Jul-13 11:07:41

She's not being stopped from having a daughter,is is being prevented from selecting only female embryos being implanted.

What indeed would happen if the child was transgender?

My great-grandparents had nine daughters in a row. As this was in the first half of the 20th century, no one offered them gender-selection IVF. Were they "legally stopped from having a son"? Because if they were legally stopped then it's odd that nothing happened to them when they did have one as DC10 (and another as DC11, as it happens).

Michelle Priestley says “Had it [IVF gender selection] been made available I probably wouldn’t have had five children. I would have stopped.” The fact that she's happy to put that on public record where her sons can read it in future -- to say, effectively "We didn't want you, we wanted a girl" (or even "We didn't want you at all, we wanted to have had a girl instead of one of your older brothers") to her younger children -- shows that she's not being entirely rational or thinking of the child's best interests in all of this.

HildaOgden Wed 03-Jul-13 11:52:47

What happens when someone accidentally becomes pregnant with a boy,rather than the girl they have 'ordered' (or vice versa).Could easily happen,human error being what it is...what do the parents do then,sue?

With the exception of screening out life threatening gender specific conditions,I think this should not be allowed.

(I seem to remember Charlie Sheen saying his male twins came about this way,as he already had 3 daughters and wanted sons.The fact that he could do so,given the train wreck of a life that both he and the drug addicted mother were living,proves how much money talks.)

WaitingIsWhatIDo Wed 03-Jul-13 11:55:28

I'm glad there is no choice. I have two boys and I would have loved another child, boy or girl, but my younger sons autism combined with my age led me to the decision to have no more. I sympathise with Michelle and she seems like a lovely woman, but I think she needs to get over it, I see the same thing at school, mothers crying at the gates because they are having another boy and makes me a bit hmmmm. It will probably be the norm one day but I'm glad I didn't have that dilemma in my lifetime.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 11:57:46

IVF is for people who can't have children, not for people who have seven of one sex to use to have the opposite sex.

EldritchCleavage Wed 03-Jul-13 12:02:10

But I do feel that here in UK we have different cultural view of boys v. girls and not everyone would choose to have a boy baby here

At the moment, perhaps. But these things can change. I don't think we should be too smug about our currently more enlightened gender attitudes, they are not necessarily very widespread or firmly entrenched.

ICBINEG Wed 03-Jul-13 12:09:33

Agree with Sassh
Leaving aside choices for medical reasons, what possible non-sexist reason can there be for only wanting a child of a specific gender?

So why should the state promote sexist attitudes?

ICBINEG Wed 03-Jul-13 12:10:02

Oh hence OP YABVU.

tethersend Wed 03-Jul-13 12:10:13

I think it's unethical; I say that as someone who suffered huge gender disappointment on finding out DD1 was a girl. I would almost definitely have used it to have a boy (had I been rich), as I only wanted boys and was very fixed on the idea of having one- and that would mean that DD1 and DD2 wouldn't exist, the thought of which is fucking HORRIFYING.

Poppycattlepetal Wed 03-Jul-13 13:24:58

Thanks for your posts. I do feel that its a tiny minority who are seriously bothered by this so it is too harsh to make it actually illegal. It would be a very much wanted child which is a good start in life, surely.

Also on the idea of society ending up with every kid having blonde hair and blue eyes if this were allowed- just, no. Firstly, sex selection with IVF only allows you to choose between the embryos you and your partner have already made. Nothing is being added, altered, taken away and nobody knows how to add in blue eyes or blonde hair anyway.

Secondly- we have laws and regulation so these things don't run out of control. Is having babies through sex now obsolete because we've all had the possibility of IVF for the last 30 years? No.

Also i think most people usually just want to have a kid who looks like themselves and their partner. Probably because they liked each other enough to have their kid in the first place! How many people do you actually know who ideally wished they could have genetically engineered their children to look a certain way? Exactly.

I also think it's completely wrong to assume someone doesn't want the children they currently have, just because they said they would also want a child of the opposite gender. That's not what the mother of the boys has said. If this is genuinely how people feel, I think it's wierd how one of the frequent questions you get when pregnant is '.. And are you hoping for a boy or a girl?'

She's said that if IVF sex selection had been available (so that she could have a daughter) she wouldn't have had five children. That's really not the same as saying she wants the five children she already has plus a child of the opposite gender.

It wouldn't be a "very much wanted child". It would be a child who was only wanted if it had the right genitalia to fit in with its parents preconceived ideas of gender and IMO that's not a child who is wanted enough .

Fakebook Wed 03-Jul-13 13:50:52

It's unethical and wrong. Science has provided us with some breakthrough cures for genetic diseases, the latest I think being the IVF based technique to prevent mitochondrial diseases. Your sex isn't a disease. I think it's an absurd idea.

ICBINEG Wed 03-Jul-13 15:28:53

Only a small number of people are sexist enough that they only want a child of the right gender.

Only a small number of people are racist enough that they only want a child of the right colour.

Only a small number of people are shallow enough that they only want a child if it is beautiful enough.


You think we should give people what they want on the basis that they are incurably sexist, racist or shallow?

There is no possible reason for the government to facilitate sexism. EVER.

EldritchCleavage Wed 03-Jul-13 15:30:53

I do feel that its a tiny minority who are seriously bothered by this so it is too harsh to make it actually illegal

If it is a tiny minority, all the more reason not to relax the current ethics to allow them what they want. It's not a pressing issue, thank goodness, so why cater to the misguided people who do want it?

Firstly OP, sex selection with IVF only allows you to choose between the embryos you and your partner have already made. Nothing is being added, altered, taken away and nobody knows how to add in blue eyes or blonde hair anyway - at the moment! They have already developed a method of using 3 parents to screen out genetic problems, who is to say that this wouldn't happen here.
Secondly we have laws so this doesn't get out of control Yep! it's illegal full stop!

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 19:06:15

Well said Tolliver- how dreadful to know that you were only wanted if you were a particular gender.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Wed 03-Jul-13 19:11:37

Because ivf is a medical treatment for infertility which, although totally justified where needed, places physical strains on the body and emotional strains on those going through it. It should only be used where medically justified. And I speak as one who begged to go straight to ivf when we found out we had problems conceiving because the success rate was better. The doctor quite rightly said it would be wrong to do this.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Wed 03-Jul-13 19:22:46

I think it's inherently wrong.

I don't agree with gender selection and I don't think it should be an option for any raisins other than genetic issues.

I've 2 boys, my family is perfectly balanced and I have never understood this bias towards wanting a child of either sex.

I'm not the girl my mum hoped for I'm sure. As a child I was derrided for my lack of 'girliness' and being overweight, and I dont believe I fulfilled her expectations at all. We don't have the kind of mother/ daughter relationship that seems to be so desired.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 03-Jul-13 20:21:23


5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 20:35:17

Yabvu. Its been said by others but sassh post was very good. These parents dont just want the other gender they want 'their' ideal of what a child if that gender should be. But actually children are individuals and parents may well.not get the child they imagine.
How awful for that womans five boys to have to read that she wouldnt have had them had she got a girl sad

glamourousgranny42 Wed 03-Jul-13 21:00:48

Sex selection is unethical and more about the expectations and needs of the parent. As has already been said if you want a particular gender there must be sn expectation of that gender having certain qualities. How sexist is that? A child is a child first and foremost. There is no guarantee of a girly little girl or a laddish boy. People would be better off concentrating on raising children with positive self esteem and rounded personality instead of trying to mould them into a gender stereotype

Poppycattlepetal Wed 03-Jul-13 21:38:23

I'm a bit hmm at how many people seem to believe that they themselves, and parents in general, come to their parenting with a completely open mind. 'Let the child be whomever he or she turns out to be', etc. Really?

I think that's disingenuous because if we're honest, most of us parents actually do all kinds of things with the express intention of moulding our children into being who we, the parent, thinks they should be. Only difference I can see is that it is conventionally done after the child is born, not before birth as it would be here.

I just don't see that it's so vastly morally different to seek to choose your future child from a selection of your own embryos based on the ideal you have of your child being a male or a female before you become pregnant with him or her.

MrButtercat Wed 03-Jul-13 21:51:51

I soooo don't see the fuss tbh.A lot comes from people who are hmm over IVF anyway imvho.

I have IVF icsi twin boys,the actual science of it is so routine now it would be neither here nor there if you checked out sex on top.

Most couples would want both if they could choose so I don't buy the population theory at all.

I tried for 7 years to have my boys after being told it was near to impossible.I still wanted a girl too- so sue me.

My natural miracle daughter was born a year later.If she hadn't happened I would have done IVF again and would still have loved a daughter.Big deal.Ensuring that is a non issue,IVF is routine,common and part of modern life - an awful lot of people need to get over it.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Wed 03-Jul-13 22:04:32


I would love to "balance" my family - as parents to nurture sons & daughters.

No expectations here as to what my 'make believe' daughter may be like - just a deep routed sense of yearning. And I am very realistic that things may not turn out as you imagine. My sister is gay, for example - no gender disapointment in my family. At all.

I think a lot of you have very black & white views.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Wed 03-Jul-13 22:06:00

Great post MrButtercat smile

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 22:16:24

I really don't think that people ought to have children if they view them as commodities or possessions. They are a gift that you have to nurture for a very short time. Most of the problems that people have with their parents is that they try to mould them to the child they want- rather than find out what they have and love and support that child.
Of course you bring them up in a certain way but you have to bear in mind that you may be an atheist and they may become a vicar, you may eat meat, they may become vegetarian, you may want someone to go to football with you, they might loathe football, you may set your mind on an academic child destined for Oxford but they may want to be a landscape gardener etc.
Money can't buy everything-however much money you have you should have the child that nature sends you and not interfere - if gender is vitally important then lots of older children need adoptive parents.
I think it wonderful that you don't get to choose- and despite OP will not be allowed to.

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 22:21:16

Where would it stop? When you get your DD and she refuses to wear pretty dresses, wouldn't be seen dead shopping with her mother, has learning difficulties, emigrates to Australia etc etc would you feel cheated?

ChocolateBiscuitCake Wed 03-Jul-13 22:24:18

So if you have IVF - are these children considered commodities or possessions?

Of course not.

MrButtercat Wed 03-Jul-13 22:27:38

You should have the child that nature sends you- but nature wasn't sending me any so I guess my boys shouldn't have been born.hmm

ChocolateBiscuitCake Wed 03-Jul-13 22:28:29

Such an extreme view Exotic - I wouldn't love any of my children less for any of their life decisions (other than murder!) because they were my child - you love your child. End of.

If my sons are gay, hate sport, love pink (what other ridiculous steryotypes can we take??!!) - I will love them. Deeply. They are my children.

Ifcatshadthumbs Wed 03-Jul-13 22:30:09

"Most couples would want both if they could choose" I don't agree with that at all I certainly didn't.
I don't feel comfortable with egg or sperm donation either so yes am definitely hmm about gender selection.

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 22:31:59

But why do you want a specific gender? What is this balance that you are after, what difference does it make?!
Seriously I dotn get it, you get what you get.

I have no problem with ivf etc for infertility or medical reasons etc, I donated my own eggs to help a couple have children. But I don't understand the need for a specific gender.

MrButtercat Wed 03-Jul-13 22:34:35

I don't know anybody who wanted a specific gender.Once you have a child you often want to experience the other sex- big deal.

OrganixAddict Wed 03-Jul-13 22:37:30

I have 3 dc all of the same gender, I don't feel my family is lacking or unbalanced and agree that gender selection via IVF should not be allowed.

I was very surprised though when a friend who was approved for adoption had a child placed with her very quickly because she wanted a boy (and most adapters want girls apparently). Struck me as odd you can choose gender when you are adopting but not conceiving.

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 22:44:50

Really you want to experience the other gender? What makes you think they are so different. Time they are not.

My first four were all boys, we were happy with four, we planned four and our family was complete. We got a 'bonus' baby who is a girl and so far its really no different, more choice in clothes but she is just a rough and tumble toddler, cute, inquisitive and full of life as her brothers were at her age. We fully expected a fifth boy and had a name picked out. It was a surprise to get a girl tbh. But hasn't changed our family, nor do I feel that we are more 'balanced'.

The constant comments that now our family is complete, or how pleased we must be to 'finally' have a girl are really rather wearing and insulting to my four boys who are fabulous.

Children are individuals regardless of gender, my boys are like chalk and cheese, all very different to each other with their own likes and dislikes, ditto dd.

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 22:46:24

And of its not a big deal, why are you so keen to be able to choose, its either important enough that you would go through ivf to get a specific sex or its not. To say its not a big deal and then still be prepared to pay and go through ivf seems at odds.

exoticfruits Wed 03-Jul-13 23:02:55

Why do you think I am against IVF? It is a wonderful thing for those who can't conceive naturally. It is not to buy the 'gender you want'. I can't see anything extreme about my views. Money can't buy everything- you can't order a child like a new car!

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 23:06:10

I do think that if you have a child or more than one of a particular gender and you will go to these lengths to get the 'other' gender you are sending the message to your existing children that they are not good enough/or they are the wrong gender.

In the case of the woman in the article how will her sons feel of they read that when older?

PeriodMath Wed 03-Jul-13 23:12:45

I don't think it's wrong per se, just really weird.

Children are about so much more than their gender. What's between their legs has no bearing whatsoever on the person they will become or the relationship you will have with them.

"Michelle Priestley says “Had it [IVF gender selection] been made available I probably wouldn’t have had five children. I would have stopped.” The fact that she's happy to put that on public record where her sons can read it in future -- to say, effectively "We didn't want you, we wanted a girl" (or even "We didn't want you at all, we wanted to have had a girl instead of one of your older brothers") to her younger children -- shows that she's not being entirely rational or thinking of the child's best interests in all of this."

I think people can be too precious about this kind of thing. My mother is very candid about the fact that I was a mistake, and so what? I know she loves me. Realistically most of us are mistakes, your Mum and Dad fancied a shag, then they got some shocking news a few weeks later grin

In the Uk I don't think there could be a gender imbalance, if anything it could get slightly more balanced, as the ideal is one of each.

5madthings Thu 04-Jul-13 00:31:11

Why is the ideal one of each? According to who?

elQuintoConyo Thu 04-Jul-13 00:41:39

I agree with pp, it starts with choosing the sex but where does it end: eye colour, height, hair colour...?

Just like what that naice Mr Hitler was experimenting with.

lisianthus Thu 04-Jul-13 03:13:57

YABU. People who want a particular sex are basing this on what they think a child of a particular sex "should" be like. That leads to situations like sassh's, above.

MyBaby1day Thu 04-Jul-13 03:53:58

I don't see why not really, have never fully made my mind up about whether it's right or not but I am a BIG believer in my dreams and in making my dreams come true (this attitude has got me throught some -very- difficult times) and who am I to say someone shouldn't get their dream Son/Daughter. I do have a slight worry being conceived this way may cause medical problems somewhere down the line but maybe that's just my ignorance. I remember the lady in the programme '8 boys and wanting a girl', her boys were GORGEOUS!. I hope they aren't hurt by it when they get older and discover it yes. As for the worry about eye/hair colour/build preferences, then no, you would have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. But gender I don't see why not. I have always dreamed of one boy but as I want to adopt think it will be less of a problem for me (as pointed out by OrganixAddict). But it will be a very wanted baby and if people do it they should always be aware of they will get the boy they dream of but they won't be guaranteed anything else. Your dreams are important.

MyBaby1day Thu 04-Jul-13 03:54:23


exoticfruits Thu 04-Jul-13 07:39:05

I do think it weird that people have an idea and think that everyone must think the same.
'One of each is the ideal' is one such- how on earth can you get to this? It wouldn't be ideal for lots of people.
'It is like the every woman must want a DD' - how on earth can you make this assumption?
Families need to be balanced is a new one on me- if you choose 3 children you don't have a hope on that one!
I know someone who wanted 2children- they got triplets the second time.
I know someone who did want to 'balance' their 3children with a 4th and they got triplets and doubled their family. ( triplets do occur naturally and you can get that sort if shock!)
I believe that if you go on to ordering a baby to suit what you believe to be your picture of motherhood and family life it wouldn't be long before people wanted more and it went on to be right 'sort' of girl/boy. e.g my dream is of a musical child, a sporty child, a child with blue eyes etc etc

EmmelineGoulden Thu 04-Jul-13 09:21:35

I don't see the problem with allowing "designer" babies, so long as it doesn't lead to a population imbalance (so I think limits should be bought in where it leads to imbalance or actual harm). If there are problems with certain characteristics being favoured society needs to deal with that prejudice first - it's not as though we didn't have horrendous sexism when you couldn't choose the sex.

I think ssash's point about a child "disappointing" parents by not fitting in with the parent's idea of what that child should be like is real, but that problem exists anyway, whether a child has been "designed" or not.

I wouldn't do it though. I'm also not so into this idea that "one of each" is the ideal. I assumed that before I had children, but my two are the same sex and I'm really pleased about it (not sure why though!).

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 09:29:41

Yes the being disappointed that a child doesn't fit the gender stereotype is a real current problem.

The solution is EDUCATING people out of such depressing ignorance.

Not giving them the ability to pander to it.

lydiajones Thu 04-Jul-13 10:03:11

It seems wrong to choose gender unless there is a medical reason (ie. hereditary diseases in one sex).

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 04-Jul-13 10:34:04

I think with gender disappointment perhaps the answer isn't education but accepting that its a real phenomenon and counselling people through it, without necessarily offering gender selection as the answer. But I say that with extreme caution-some would argue that we should have been counselled through our infertility rather than be offered donor conception-which I know people have mixed views on. I think dilemmas like these are why the hfea exists.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 12:52:48

I wish I lived in the future...when people don't think the most important thing about their child was it's gender.

I have a problem seeing past the idea that if you only want a child that is the 'right' gender/race/hair colour etc. then you really shouldn't have a child at all.

Is the idea that you would counsel people who already have a child they find they can't love, or to counsel people who think that might happen before they have children?

Having a child is such an awesome responsibility and privilege that a lot of me thinks we should all be on compulsory contraceptives until we have proved we are up to the job of parents.

I have a large doubt in me that I would have passed such a test - but what with global environmental concerns far fewer children being brought up in a far better way would undoubtedly be a better solution.

NayFindus Thu 04-Jul-13 14:16:44

How would the child feel about it? If I knew my parents had chosen my gender I would have so many questions - would they love me if I was the other gender, should I think males are inferior because they didn't want one, should I choose only female children because that's what they chose? It does all seem a bit 1984.

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 14:22:21

I think its a lovely idea. Who wouldnt want one of each? They call it family balancing. My friend had IVF/PGD for gender reasons after having 4 of the same gender. I think it should be legalised in this country for couples who want the opposite of what they already have

VelvetStrider Thu 04-Jul-13 14:35:48

I'd be concerned that if this were permitted, there would be a significant number of rich, controlling men putting pressure on their wives to have gender-selective IVF instead of natural conception. It seems a very tough process to go through to accommodate someone else's preference.

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 15:10:59

Sooooooo not a big issue or any different than fertile rich couples trying for a particular sex naturally.

I always wanted both sexes.

I'm lucky I got both,they do differ in the same way siblings of the same sex do.No child is the same.

My dd is a tomboy,hard not to be having brought up in a household with 2 sets of twin boys however there are things that differ with her being a girl.I was a girl,I've never been a boy.Dd and I amongst all the boys have an understanding and I love it.

IVF is a routine procedure,selecting embryos re sex are no different than my consultant selecting embryos re suitability.It is routine and there is no valid argument against it imvho.

CHJR Thu 04-Jul-13 15:16:25

I have three children: DS1, DS2, DD. Both DSs were created by IVF; DD was adopted. DS2 has significant SN. (Brace for more acronyms to come!)

In the first months of our TTC, I was sure I would never resort to anything as immoral and disgusting as IVF. But when the time came I was grateful, and now can’t remember why I ever quibbled. Now I know a lot of women of all nationalities who did the same, and even now I seem to be the only one who isn’t ashamed of having used IVF and doesn’t consider it a secret to be hidden from what we bitterly called “civilians.” My point: many people feel shame or disgust at something that isn’t, logically, wrong.

While trying TTC DS2, we enquired about pre-implantation genetic testing (PIG). We didn’t ask about gender, but I admit considering it. My father was one of 7 boys, his father was one of 9 boys, and of 25-odd cousins alive, I am the only girl; DH is one of 3 boys, FiL one of 3 boys. IVF is known to lead to more boys – perhaps the petri dish favours fast (male) sperm over endurance (female sperm). My mother died when I was young, and I think my father and I had ever since cherished a notion she might be “reborn” through my daughter some day – those of you who worry about confused expectations around gender selection are not wrong.

In the end DH and I didn’t ask about sex; we did ask about genetics. Because of our years of TTC, I was nearly 40 and at risk for Down’s. The doctor recoiled in sincere horror: in that country, it was illegal to pre-screen embryos in any way. But, he added generously, if I conceived, he would give me a free amnio and do any necessary abortion himself. Imagine how we in turn recoiled.

Ironically, it was the child conceived then who is SN. Equally ironically, he doesn’t have Down’s or any disorder that either PIG or amnio would have caught. It was because I couldn’t consider abortion that I had asked about PIG. But I believe abortion should be legal, and my father and I have always felt my mother died young mainly because she spent time in jail for fighting for women’s rights, including abortion. Abortion is now legal in my birth country, and is beginning to skew the gender balance. I despair of finding a right answer here.

When we applied to adopt our third, we were automatically asked which gender we preferred – even in UK it is normal to specify both gender and health of child. Again much heart-searching. Though people often assume adoption is more “altruistic” than IVF, it too is a maze: do you think all those mothers in China really want to abandon their daughters? Have you read the scandals in Asia, in Latin America, of adoption brokers buying or even abducting babies from poor families? But is it really immoral to want children that nature makes impossible? Our Catholic priest reminded us that IVF is a sin. We adopted our third, and we asked for a healthy girl.

Having TTC for over 10 years, I saw so many situations. I have a friend who applied to adopt and was matched with what she was told was a healthy girl. After 24 hours it became clear the baby wasn’t healthy. My friend got medical checks, then gave this baby back and got a different one. I know my friend thinks of this ghost daughter when she looks at her three healthy adopted DC. I know she will never tell her DC about this choice. I’m too exhausted by my own moral struggles to judge her; I am so glad I never had to face such a choice.

I have several friends who, while I was still unable to get any child, conceived and aborted (as late as 6 months) after amnio showed major genetic problems. I have two friends who conceived with donor eggs, fertilized with their DH’s sperm and implanted in their wombs. I chose traditional adoption, but after all, the adoption of our DD involved donor egg, donor sperm, and surrogate uterus, didn’t it?

Certainly, if I could have controlled my life, I would never have chosen to have a SN child, to adopt, or even to use IVF. Does that mean I don’t love my children, or love less the disabled one or the adopted? The fact that I had to face choices makes me more, not less, grateful for my three so-hard-won miracles.

Decades ago, I attended a conference with one of the doctors who developed the technique for the two-egg IVF that has just become available (basically you combine the yolk from one egg with the white of another). Asked about the ethics, he answered: after spending my whole life working on the edge of an invisible and wavering line, I’ve concluded that when you start limiting the freedom of choice of people who are already here in favour of people not yet even conceived, that’s when you risk becoming a eugenicist or tyrant.

If our relatively homogenous community at Mumsnet don’t agree on this stuff, then I don’t think there is an answer obvious enough (yet?) that a government should make it law.

exoticfruits Thu 04-Jul-13 15:33:56

Lots of people don't want one of each and lots don't want a 'balanced' family! I do think it weird that we are told what we should want because a particular poster wants it!

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 15:47:51

Ditto exotic,just because you don't want both doesn't mean others shouldn't want both or be helped to have both.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 04-Jul-13 16:02:52

CHJR what a great post. Thank you for sharing the maze of choices people struggle with so compassionately.

digerd Thu 04-Jul-13 16:11:36

A few years ago, I contacted my local major library to ask if after the last war, were there more boys than girls born, in UK.
The records were looked up and the answer was NO. For the years recorded, each year there were almost equal boys and girls born.
The 'almost 'referred to a few more boys being born to supplement the fact that more boys than girls died after birth/at birth.
Both ending up equal.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 04-Jul-13 16:34:55

Icbineg - I guess you'd counsel people afterwards because they wouldn't know how much they were affected. This is no new phenomenon-only today I was talking to a lovely guy in his fifties whose wide has had a lifetime of feeling second best because her mother wanted a boy and made no secret of it. Perhaps of she'd been able to talk it through properly with a professional it could have been avoided. There's little value in demonising people for having feelings. Telling people it's unacceptable to feel a certain way doesn't stop them feeling it-just talking about it. And those feelings might very well affect their children.

Poppycattlepetal Thu 04-Jul-13 17:23:20

Sorry this is a long post. But I think there have been a few assertions floating about which people haven't actually substantiated. Such as that:

- people who feel strongly about wanting one or the other sex are in some way viewing their future child as a 'possession' or a 'commodity'. why should that be so?

- it's not possible to love the kids you've got, if you are interested in choosing the sex of their future siblings. Again, why does this follow?

- that all parents seeking sex selection will want to rigidly enforce their own ideas of appropriate gender-expression on to the unfortunate sex-selected child.
-Why would these parents be less likely than you, me or anyone else to let their much-wanted sex-selected girl or boy child become their own person? Why would such parents, despite liking the idea of having a girl or boy baby, be too silly to work out in advance, that not all girls like pink and not all boys like football, etc?

Also angry by the huge trivialisation of IVF by some posters. it's hugely expensive, exhausting and I think the best odds you can possibly get is only about a 50% chance of taking home a baby. Never anyone's decision of first resort or done lightly.

Also sad to the arguments on here that boil down to: because it's not in my own experience to want something, therefore its totally fine to legally prevent all others who want that victimless thing, even if they are made very unhappy by not having it. Then that bit of smuggery is followed up by calling into question other people's competence as parents if they do dare to express that they want the abitrarily illegal thing.

The sort of suspicious default view some posters on here have of other parents is just a miserable way to think about others IMO. Why assume others would care less for their children than you do for yours? Or must have bad motives in wanting the experience of parenting a boy or a girl?

We are all entitled to disapprove of whatever, but I feel that in these sort of very personal family matters the criminal law is currently intruding where it shouldn't.

Poppycattlepetal Thu 04-Jul-13 17:26:37

Thank you very much for your post CHJR.

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 17:51:32

Poppy if you are fertile the odds in your favour are very good.

The new techniques mentioned last month(natural ivf and the phoography thing)are going to massively improve results further and lessen risks.

Re expense and trauma yep been there,done that however that doesn't mean those who want to and can should be stopped from doing it.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 04-Jul-13 18:01:08

poppy, you mention criminal law intruding where it shouldn't - surely IVF is about as intrusive as it gets?

PeriodMath Thu 04-Jul-13 18:16:39

Poppy, your questions in your last post are deliberately obtuse. Good answers have been given repeatedly to all of them. You sound like my 3 year old saying "but why??" to everything.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 18:23:55


Yeah the criminal law is intruding where it "shouldn't" before it is required. Like it is in India,where nobody is even allowed to find out the gender of their unborn child as there is such a massive preference for boys.

I'm truly shocked you can't see that.

You can't always get what you want, in this case that would be the gender of your choice.

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 18:27:10

I disagree Period - the reasons people have given are lousy.. such as "It makes me feel funny"

I think it was a good post and would like to hear the answers.

Poppycattlepetal Thu 04-Jul-13 19:05:00

Sorry, I know how tiring that can be PeriodMath but if I came across like a questioning 3 yo, it's genuinely because some other posters are basically just making their points with 'Because I said so'. smile

ChocolateBiscuitCake Thu 04-Jul-13 19:07:56

I am blonde, my husband is blonde - why on earth would I 'design' a brunette baby?!

For anyone who really is considering this process: there is a wonderful, supportive website that is well worth joining. Lots of lovely, understanding ladies who are non-judgemental and sympathetic.

PM if you would like the details.

exoticfruits Thu 04-Jul-13 19:37:59

,just because you don't want both doesn't mean others shouldn't want both or be helped to have both

I can't see why anyone should be helped. A child is a gift-not something you say 'well of course I am pleased they are fit and healthy, but actually I got the wrong sort'!

I used to think that every parent should be given the following poem in the delivery room-now I think they should get it when they first contemplate having a child.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You can plan your perfect wedding, choose the dog you want, get your car in a particular colour-thank goodness you can't order the child you want. Despite people on here thinking they want to order their 'perfect' combination of family I very much doubt whether they will ever be allowed to-I really can't see it it happening.

exoticfruits Thu 04-Jul-13 19:41:11

Before anyone jumps in-of course you should be helped have a child if you can't. You shouldn't be able to buy treatment to be helped to the one you want.
I hope no one is suggesting that NHS should pay for your 'designer' family. hmm
If it is down to money that means that it is only available to the rich-who already have the misguided opinion that money is the answer to everything.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Thu 04-Jul-13 19:45:13

And because of your extreme opposition against the idea - it is exactly why there will never be a gender imbalance nationwide, that so many posters seem to be concerned about.

Thankfully there are other countries who have a more sympathetic stance.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 19:48:17


What is there to be sympathetic about?

Unless it's gender selection to avoid a genetic issue it is completely unnecessary.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Thu 04-Jul-13 19:51:22

exotic - definitely no expectations here from the NHS wink

And yet another blanket sweeping statement from yourself that rich people are misguided hmm...don't most people who need IVF have to pay themselves too becasue of ridiculous waiting times and loopholes???

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 19:53:13

Puke at the poem. I think the status quo is fine - you can get it done in Cyprus, for less than 10k, which most people can find surely if it means that much to you.

The types of people who worry so much about other people unborn babies should consider that you can get a gender scan from 12 weeks and abort.. which is more offensive to you? Abortion for gender reasons or determining gender before conception?

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 19:54:13


They are both equally offensive to me personally.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Thu 04-Jul-13 19:57:37

A sympathetic understanding that there are some families (husband & wife in this household) that have a very real desire for a daughter [for the avoidance of another 100 posts about "what is your daughter is a tomboy?, "what if your daughter doesn't want to shop?", "what if your daughter doesn't go to university?"...that has already been covered earlier!].

The technology exists. Some countries have a sympathetic stance that enable famillies to use this technology. And I am grateful that they do.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 20:00:30


People have "very real" desires for a lot of things. Just because you want it doesn't mean you should have it.

The technology for cloning exists,it's been done with animals. People are next. Is it a good thing? Should it be done merely because the technology exists?

exoticfruits Thu 04-Jul-13 20:01:53

So if it is not on NHS it is only the rich who can buy a child of their choice- and this is OK for society? hmm
Luckily I have every faith that this Brave New World will never happen.

exoticfruits Thu 04-Jul-13 20:03:40

Why have people got this entitled view that if they want something and have enough money they should get it?
I am thankful money doesn't buy you the child of your choice. They are not for sale.

bebemad Thu 04-Jul-13 20:22:13

a tricky one in a perfect world we could all have what we want but we do not live in a perfect world, I understand that people would like/prefer a certain gender and thats fine I think PGD is a hard choice to make just for gender selection i think that there are so many risks involved in the process from the ICSI to the embryo testing.
I am a carrier of a genetic condition which means I am able to have PGD but there is something that I just can't get past with the PGD procedure (even though I have a wonderful dr who has done it thousands of times) maybe eventually i will have to just do it but for now I do not feel comfortable. I wonder if people who think of using PGD really understand the full range of risks, and its not always 100% accurate and doing it will not guarantee the 'right' gender. I just want a healthy baby smile

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 20:37:44

exotic - thats how it is at the moment. Anyone with the money can do PGD. It would be less I suppose if the cost of travel was removed though

Its legal in a few European countries

I'm not sure what I feel about it.

DH have three boys, he has a son with his first wife. She now has two other boys as well.

Would I like another baby, if we could afford it and had the room? Absolutely.
Would I like a girl? Absolutely.
Would I pay to have gender selection? Don't know. I'm not that bothered I don't think.

I would like a girl, but I don't feel like it would 'complete' me in any way. I wouldn't rule it out completely if we won the lottery. I don't think.

<Excuse me while I pick the splinters out of my arse>

I do know a woman who has a boy and a girl. When her girl was born, she did confess that had she been another boy, she would probably want to have another baby.

99problems Thu 04-Jul-13 21:15:19

Hmm interesting thread. DP and I need IVF to conceive (he has a 0 sperm count), we were talking recently and got onto this precise subject, would there be any harm specifying we would like a specific gender as we will be going through this treatment anyway?

I certainly would never consider gender selection if we didn't need IVF anyway - that seems like an awful lot of effort and I really would question why someone would go to such extremes in order to have a certain gender. IVF is a gruelling process and not something I am looking forward to in the least. However there are a lot of grey areas - like ours - if we are having IVF anyway, most likely abroad as it is more affordable - would it be ethical...

Personally I would prefer a boy, I have a ds from a previous relationship and I think, especially with the large age-gap, there is a higher chance of my ds having something in common with a brother than sister. It's not something I would have even considered had we not needed the treatment in the first place.

exoticfruits Thu 04-Jul-13 22:25:16

I would love people to make their list of I want a girl because...........
I expect it would be all about me, me, me and I want and if I pay why can't I have it.
I would be very unimpressed with my parents if they had gone abroad to make sure I was a girl-it would definitely alter our relationship as I think the love should be unconditional and yet theirs was so conditional they had pay and go abroad to get me. I would think-'right I might be a girl but I'm certainly not going to let you think you have bought the girl you want'-a prime cause of rebellion I would have thought.
If it is so important there are lots of older children who need adoptive families.

NayFindus Thu 04-Jul-13 22:28:58

all parents seeking sex selection will want to rigidly enforce their own ideas of appropriate gender-expression on to the unfortunate sex-selected child

Don't know if this refers to my post Poppy but that's not what I meant. The action in itself of gender selection to me would mean 'I am good enough because I am female. I would not have been good enough if I were a male.' Or else you wouldn't select the gender would you? The parents would in no way have to rigidly enforce anything.

exoticfruits Thu 04-Jul-13 22:34:12

What you read on MN depends on the thread. On here people obviously think there is a difference between girls and boys. If I mention a difference on other threads I am told there is no difference. I am not even allowed to say that boys wrestle and girls don't! I am certainly never allowed to say that boys need different treatment.

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 22:36:13

Nope Exotic I wanted a girl and a boy for the experience and both are great.I'm extremely blessed.Wouldn't have wanted to miss out on either.

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 22:38:10

And Exotic it's not harming anybody to get both so therefor any objection is a non issue.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 22:40:39

So come on then people - meet the challenge!

List a reason (excluding medical/genetic) that you would prefer a baby of one gender to the other that doesn't make recourse to sexism or gender stereotyping?

Lets hear some examples!

5madthings Thu 04-Jul-13 22:43:59

What experience, what so different about parenting a boy or a girl?

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 22:44:41

Already have.

Because I wanted the experience of raising both- it's fab!Didn't want to miss out on either.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 22:46:07


But your experience of raising two children of the same gender would be "fab" as well...because children are individuals with personalities not solely defined by gender...

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 22:47:16

That doesn't answer the question butter.

Why do you think there are two different experiences to be had? Or more importantly why do you think a boy and a girl are more substantially different than one boy and another or one girl and another?

You have given a reason that would apply to raising two children not specifically two children of different gender.

Do try again...

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 22:47:22

I was a girl not a boy and sorry girls differ as much as different boys differ.You can argue all you like that all kids are identical cardboard cut outs but they're not

5madthings Thu 04-Jul-13 22:47:53

What do you miss out on if you only have one gender?

Until two years ago I only had boys, i wasmt missing out on anything! I now have five, the fifth happens to be a girl, it hasnt changed my experience of parenting.

5madthings Thu 04-Jul-13 22:48:36

All children are different yes, because they are individuals, not because of their gender.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 22:48:49

Oh I think I got one!

I need a child of each gender because I desperately need to pass on the knowledge of both how to keep a penis in tip top condition AND a vagina.

Can't do that without one of each!

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 22:49:28

Sorry I have boys and girls- they differ and not in a pink/ blue way.

You think they don't,I do.I have both so sorry won't be bullied into your point of view.

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 04-Jul-13 22:50:45

agree entirely with buttercat on this.

People do sometimes want a daughter and it has nothing to do with shopping, painting nails or spa days. Just as the longing for a baby can't always be out into words, nor can the longing for a particular gender. It doesn't mean the gender you have aren't loved and adored.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 22:51:17

It actually makes me feel sick that there are people who think that raising a girl is intrinsically different to raising a boy.

All children are individuals. Gender is a tiny aspect of the whole fucking person.

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 22:52:04

And the fact is as gender selection hurts nobody it will happen- thankfully just like 3 parent IVF.

5madthings Thu 04-Jul-13 22:52:16

Yes children differ as htye at individuals, you may attribute those differences to their gender, that does not mean that is why they are different.'they differ because they are individuals regardless of gender.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 22:52:26



We know your fucking kids are because they are different not because of gender!

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 22:52:50

If you feel sick you need to get a life. grin

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 22:53:28

6 no 7 posts in a row saying difference is due to far more than gender and butter is still arguing against all kids being the same....

fuck me

MrButtercat Thu 04-Jul-13 22:54:21

Calm down dear.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 22:59:16

how droll.

There really should be a theory test as well as the practical....

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 22:59:42


I don't think it will.

3 parent ivf is being introduced for a very valid reason.

Gender selective ivf is pandering to the whims and wants of selfish people - unlikely to ever be available on the NHS.

Feel free to hunt me down and say I told you so should it turn out I am incorrect though.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:02:16

Make that: Pandering to the whims and wants of selfish ignorant people...

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:04:46

Not on the NHS, nobody is suggesting that. I do think it will be legalised though, as a money making venture if nothing else. People pay thousands to go abroad when they could be spending the money here.

They havent banned the 12 week gender scan either even though they must know it is used as gender selection.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:07:38

Unless you are actively changing a nappy there is no difference in parenting male or female children except the differences you put there.

If you need to be able to dress your baby in pink frilly frocks then feel free to do it to a son should you have one...turns out they don't actually explode on contact with pink or 5mad will back me up on!

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:07:41

Ironic how you are the one being called ignorant butter..

It will be common practice soon. Well done for going for it, and Im glad it worked

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 23:07:57

I think the 12 week gender scan may go out of the window at some point to be honest. There is already an awareness of it being used in by people from some cultures,living in the UK, as a gender selection tool.

Finding out the gender of your unborn child is largely unnecessary unless there are genetic issues involved anyway.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:11:40

It IS ignorant to think that raising children of different genders will be a more different experience than raising two children of the same gender.

There is plenty of evidence to show that point of view is incorrect so it is ignorant to continue to believe it to be true.

"Ignorance is a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge).[1] The word ignorant is an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware and is often used as an insult to describe individuals who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts."

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:12:07

Not just "some cultures"!

Plenty of white british people who want the opposite gender do it too, because its cheaper than PGD. Its been around for years now.

Will they also ban 16 week babybond scans? Or private amnio/CVS? No way

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:14:34

Rubbish. Theres plenty of actual people who will tell you that their girls are nothing like their boys

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 23:15:03

Amnio's really aren't the same as using gender scans as a step towards gender selective abortions now are they.

It is more prevalent in some cultures, males are significantly more favoured in those cultures. I'm not saying it doesn't happen to varying degrees across the board but it is fact it happens more re some cultures than others.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 23:16:27


I said cultures - one can be white and British and not be of the same culture as the white person standing next to you.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:17:08

Oohh you know what really would be a different parenting experience?

Raising a smart kid and a thick kid.

I'm pretty sure my parenting skills are better suited to smart I'll be aborting any children I conceive that aren't going to be smart enough....

I don't know why I want a smart's a yearning that is hard to explain....

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:20:01

good I refer you to my definition of ignorance.

When people do actual research (as opposed to listening to people waffling about their kids being SO SO different on a forum) they find that there is as much intrinsic difference between individuals of the same sex as individuals of different sexs. The vast majority of difference you see in boys and girls in western society is due to imposed conditioning.

If you dress you girls and boys differently and treat them differently from birth then guess what! they are different. Doesn't mean they were born that way....

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:21:29

Alis - Sure but you can have an amnio at a private clinic purely to find out the gender. Which is what people would do if 12 week gender scans were banned.

I honestly dont think it happens any more in muslim communities. Its just its more suspicious if a muslim couple pay for a early scan.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 23:24:06

Islamic culture is not the only one who strongly favours male children.

There are quite a lot of them.

To be honest unless there were health problems I would wonder why anybody was having an early scan.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:24:14

What do people do, out of interest, if they have aborted 5 female fetuses and then get a boy who is primarily interested in fashion, dressing up and make up and undergoes gender reassignment as soon as legally able?

Do you kill the boy at the first sign of cross dressing and start the sorry cycle again?

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:28:00

Alis - obviously they are having an early scan purely for gender reasons.

Yes I suppose chinese might...

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 23:32:54

Yes - that was what I was inferring. I wouldn't actually sit around wondering about it. Figure of speech.

And again, it is unecessary. All about what the parents want.

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:37:34

My point is wether you agree with it or not parents DO select the gender of their children. If they cant afford PGD, they have the option of abortion. So if it happens anyway, why not legalise PGD?

What about all the people who carry on and on getting pregnant having girl after girl until they get a boy? Thats been happening for decades and must contribute to over-population

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 23:39:33

Over population world wide is a myth. Certain areas are over populated not the world at large.

Well the people who would choose gender selective anything for non medical reasons need to be educated not given license to behave appallingly.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:40:25

Presumably IVF couples can resort to the same process though?

Presumably you can, having gotten pregnant via IVF then have an early scan and request a termination (assuming your desire to perpetuate gender stereotypes outweighs your desire for a healthy child).

So why should we offer extra selection to IVF couples?

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:41:58

I genuinely don't understand why it is okay to take one aspect of a whole person and say 'if that isn't right, then I don't want the child'.

People would go crazy if you did it with the bit that determines skin colour...or the bit that determines IQ. So why is it okay to do it with the bit that determines gender?

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:43:14

Ok, but since you are talking about how wrong it is of people to prefer one gender over another, arent you concerned about the 11(unwanted) daughters they churn out before having a son?

And how do you propose we go about educating them? Telling people "you are wrong to feel this way, its appaling" probably wont work. I think because of the stigma attatched to gender selection, people are likely to do it secretly and not ask for opinions beforehand.

I reckon the Beckhams did it

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:44:38

ICBINEG - Im not saying its right or wrong (personally I dont have a problem with it) but since it happens anyway and cant be prevented, why not legalise it?

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:46:57

Because legalising it would send the message that society thinks it is okay to decide you don't want a baby because of it's gender.

So do you also think it would be okay to select on skin colour and IQ?

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 23:48:00

I think they did as well. I also think it's a bit tragic.

David Beckham cheated on his wife - doesn't make cheating morally ok does it.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 04-Jul-13 23:49:39

GoodTouch - "it happens anyway so why not legalise it" is such a bad line of reasoning.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:51:47

It is morally wrong for people to treat people differently due to gender when no actual difference exists. It is discrimination and ethically wrong plain and simple.

In my line of work if a female applicant and a male applicant apply for the same role with the same qualifications, the male will get the job every time.

Is that morally right? Is that ethical?

It happens because of gender stereotyping. Because people cannot see past the gender to the actual person underneath.

Now imagine it isn't your job that will be denied you purely because of your gender but your whole right to existence.

How can that be okay? How can that be ethical?

Wuldric Thu 04-Jul-13 23:53:39

I find it difficult to believe that this is a genuine question. When the answer is so self-evident.

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:55:23

No I dont think its the same as skin colour and IQ.. (surely you can work out what the skin colour will be though?)

The way it works where its legal is you have to have at least one child of the opposite gender than the one you implant. People try all sorts of things like wearing tight pants and drinking cranberry juice to try to get one or the other gender. So I just dont see it as being such a leap to have a bit more certainty.

Imagine, trying for a girl after 5 boys (like the lady in the piece) and being overwhelmed with dissappointment when a baby boy was handed to you? Wouldnt it be best for everyone if she had been able to stop at 2? Surely boy number 5 who shouldve been a girl is going to suffer more than the gender selected daughter who might be a bit butch?

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:55:33

re beckams..I bet the oldest boy becomes a hair dresser and the girl is the best footballer of the lot and ends up playing for England.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:57:27

No, skin colour is complex as can be seen from any number of cases where twins are born with different colour skin.

If you think it is different then why is it different?

A baby is not defined by it's colour or IQ. but it isn't defined by it's gender either?!?

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 04-Jul-13 23:57:49

ICBINEG - your last post has thrown me a bit. I shall have to think.

I didnt think of it as part of a wider issue

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:58:15

Do you think the gender discrimination (as I described below) in the work place is also okay then?

ICBINEG Thu 04-Jul-13 23:59:48

Sorry I think we are getting out of sync and x-posting.

I shall go to bed and give you time to think!

GoodTouchBadTouch Fri 05-Jul-13 00:00:44

"If you think it is different then why is it different?

A baby is not defined by it's colour or IQ. but it isn't defined by it's gender either?!?"

Touche. I dont know

CHJR Fri 05-Jul-13 00:41:27

I can’t believe after my too-long previous post I have more to say, but must add:

Another experience I have had was of holding a normally fertile friend’s hand as she wept because the scan had showed her last DC was another boy. As I was between DS1 and DS2 and quite open about it, I did ask myself: is she insensitive to bring this complaint to me who can’t even get pg? Actually, I was proud. By trusting me with her grief she had shown that I, too, despite my incompetence at making children, had become a full member of the Mothers’ Club. I was in the club because I understood why she did cry: in a way, not being able to control the gender of your child brings up the same sense of powerlessness as infertility does.

Having children is all about feeling frighteningly helpless. And this isn’t the modern pattern. We are taught to control everything, to choose from 100 cereals, we are furious if power turns out to come from money and not all of us have enough money, we prove we are adult by choosing so calmly and well. Once our DC are involved, the stakes are much higher: hurt me, but DON’T TOUCH my child!

Yet pregnancy: at first the baby is inside you, almost part of you like an extra organ. (Not that you really control your organs. Mine are going to give me a terrible hangover if I don’t go to bed soon.) Then you are in labour and anyone who thinks they can control that has obviously not had a DC. Then they are in the terrible twos, or they encounter a beastly person who oddly doesn’t share your view that DC is perfect, or if you luckily get so far unscathed, DC will announce the worst possible partner or a move to the country you spent your life escaping…

Infertility: you don’t touch alcohol for a decade (what if this is the week you finally get pg?) or coffee either (marginally higher risk of MC?), raw fish, soft cheese, cats. You don’t run the marathon. You have sex though you are mad at DH. Your doctor tells you to inject yourself in the stomach every day at the same time, whether you are on a longhaul flight or at DC1’s school play. Still you can’t guarantee any of this will ever result in a child.

We argue because we know how much it matters: can we control our wish for this particular kind of child? Will trying to control gender lead to trying to control everything else too? Should I have to control my desire for control? Should the government control me? Is there anyone anywhere in control?

Motherhood is ABOUT control and its terrifying absence, which is why I thank you all for MN: the is-DC’s-shyness-my-fault-or-a-mysterious-ailment, the my-friend-is-being-crazy-about-who-comes-to-her-wedding, the should-I-control-my-response-even-though-someone-else-is being-VVUR. This is the silver lining in the cloud: our shared fear of losing control brings us together. (And here endeth the sermon. Sorry, clearly I can’t even control my own droning on!)

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 07:39:14

An interesting post, CHJR- mothers simply will not understand that they have no control. They appear to think that they can order their whole DCs environment as in lots of little ways- e.g recently a poster was upset because the grandmother has told her DS to have a biscuit without asking and the mother thinks it polite to ask. It is the grandmother's house- her biscuits! The only way the mother can control is keep the DS away from the grandmother. You can control yourself- you can't control others.

I think that fact that we have so much choice e.g the 101 cereals makes us think the whole of life is a choice in 'I want a boy and a girl- why the hell can't I if I can pay for it?'

I am afraid that I can't raise any sympathy for a woman who cries at the scan because she has the 'wrong' gender- I would have to go out of the room to avoid letting rip. Why on earth has she got pregnant if it matters so much and she knows the odds are 50/50? if you were betting you wouldn't put £10000 on something if you knew it was complete luck and the odds were 50/50.

I would love someone to take ICBINEG's challenge.
Those who want a specific gender - can you give us your reasons that don't contain gender stereotyping ,or it is a consumer society and 'I want' should mean 'I get'.
I very much suspect it runs into things like 'a girl will be your best friend'- despite the evidence everyday that some mother's and daughters have nothing in common.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 07:40:37

I also very much suspect that no one will give the list.

demisemiquaver Fri 05-Jul-13 08:21:46

It's clearly wrong (medical reasons aside)to want to choose your baby's gender : a [hopefully] healthy baby is a gift :folk shouldn't go smugly and ARROGANTLY assuming they can pick and choose, like wallpaper :by denying the 'wrong' gender the life it would have , all it's other individual characteristics and traits are likewise denied to everyone.
If a girl wants to join the cubs she cant be legally denied that so surely he/she shouldn't be denied life itself???
Also, what about Natural Selection??? sometimes this causes more of a certain gender to be born for good reason, and we are interfering with Nature way too much as it is.....this is yet another 'step too far'

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 08:40:58

On breakfast TV they had the shocking statistics of mental health problems in the under 16's- bound to get worse if children feel they were 'bought' to fulfil parental expectations. If you choose your car, house etc you can change it- you can't send the child back.

Samu2 Fri 05-Jul-13 08:41:23

I don't agree with it either.

I had three boys with my ex husband and I admit to wanting a girl and I was sad that I thought I would never get to experience it. As silly as it may sound it was how I felt. I actually ended up divorced and now have two daughters with my husband.

So I understand the feelings that come along with wanting a certain sex but IVF to choose it doesn't sit right with me at all.

People often asked me if I was going to keep trying until I got a girl hmm I hated that question, do people really keep getting pregnant in hopes of having a certain sex? I am sure there are some but my wish for a girl was never strong enough to bring kids into the world just because I wanted a girl hmm and I think it is really sad that anyone would have IVF and choose the sex of their baby as well.

roguepixie Fri 05-Jul-13 08:52:17

Completely disagree with giving people the chance to choose the sex of their baby. Wrong, completely and utterly wrong.

One sex is not better or more worthwhile than the other.

I had to go through IVF. I had a son. I would have been happy with a healthy child of either gender. I fully support IVF as without it I would not have become a Mum but it should be the means to try to help people become parents of a healthy child, whatever sex that child might be.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Jul-13 08:54:35

Why shouldn't people pick and choose demi? Nature does it, why shouldn't we?

If I were to choose sex I'd go for the same sex as I currently have, not "gender balancing" or a preference for boys or girls. Currently having two of the same "type" I find it makes family life easier in the culture we live in. That will be especially true when they hit secondary school as the ones round here are single sex and I would like them to be able to go to the same school.

I might be inclined towards choosing other characteristics - health in particular, long active live life genes etc. I might also be inclined to opt for genes more likely to lead to a higher IQ. And genes that would tend to make them taller. My reasons for those are all that I think a child with those characteristics is more likely to have a happier and easier life. Don't think I'd actually go for it at all though, and I'm pretty certain I wouldn't bother for sex, but I'm not really seeing a need to ban those who do want to - there's no clear indication of harm and overall I think we should trust people to make their own best choices.

But, equally, why should people pick and choose? Choice has become an emblematic concept of contemporary western societies, to the extent that many people are assuming that people must have choice and that more choice is always better. It isn't necessarily that straightforward.

ICBINEG Fri 05-Jul-13 09:02:56

emme because a person is a whole person. it is ethically wrong to discriminate against them on the basis of one aspect of their genetic make up on the basis of stereotyping.

I as posted earlier, if it isn't fair that I am discriminated against at work purely on the basis of gender, then how can it be ethical to deny a fair shot at life purely on the basis of gender?

Knowing a babies gender tells you almost nothing about who that baby will become. It is morally wrong in the extreme to terminate, or in the case of IVF fail to implant a baby purely on the basis of it's gender.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Jul-13 09:14:42

But you might not be being discriminated against on the basis of stereotypes. There maybe other reasons - I explained above how I could see a particular sex making family life slightly better for my family for instance.

We discriminate all the time when hiring. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex when hiring because there has been demonstrated harm to society. In the US where sex selection is possible there isn't evidence of harm is there?

yamsareyammy Fri 05-Jul-13 11:13:25

Out of interest, and I dont think this question has been asked,
to the posters who want to choose,
are there any who would choose boys?

bebemad Fri 05-Jul-13 12:44:09

I wonder if people really understand what PDG is when they say they would do gender selection, its not just IVF and then the drs can tell by looking at the embryo if it is a girl or boy. Dr's need to remove 1 or 2 cells from a 8 cell embryo to test if it is xx xy this to me is a risk and i would not want to do it unless it was medically necessary. Like i said in an earlier post i am a carrier of a genetic condition so PGD is an option but risks worry me.

ICBINEG Fri 05-Jul-13 13:04:08

emme please explain more how having one gender will be easier for your family than the other without reverting to comments based on stereotyping then!

ICBINEG Fri 05-Jul-13 13:05:32

I have one girl...if I had another child, a boy or a girl may be more similar to my daughter. There is no way to know. If you follow the childs actual interests and personality rather than conforming them to stereotypes there is no way to predict what either gender will 'be like'.

digerd Fri 05-Jul-13 13:15:08

In the 60s, an aquaintance of mine who was 38, adopted a boy as her first child. She told me she was very lucky, as boys were more in demand than girls. < I was too young to ask her why?>

persimmon Fri 05-Jul-13 13:24:43

I think gender selection for babies, other than on serious medical grounds, is an expression of something ugly on many levels. If you're that bothered, I don't think you should be becoming a parent.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Jul-13 13:30:53

In the culture we live in they are more likely to share clothes and equipment (not toys, but for instance, sporting equipment built for women and girls' bodies) and play together. Mainly it will mean they'll go to the same schools and do some of the same activities (like Guides).

Even if I don't revert to stereotyping (and I try hard not to) the culture I live in does. So with three girls I am more likely to get invitations which include all of them and they are more likely to conform to social expectations with regard to interests (I am particularly annoyed by this last, but I sadly think it is true).

I also won't have to deal with things like others thinking the boy must be the science-y one when actually the microscope is one of the girl's favourite possession. Similarly I won't have to delicately attempt to counter their grandparents comparing their non-gender conforming behaviour with similar behaviour in their opposite gendered sibling with an annoying mixture of shock, pride and slight disapproval. (This happens with their cousins, who are different sexes, but my two just get praise because they aren't usurping their brother's right to be whatever-"boyish"-behaviour, or being usurped in "girlish" behaviour by a brother).

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Jul-13 13:31:24

That last to ICBINEG

ICBINEG Fri 05-Jul-13 13:35:08

Ah okay so no attempt to come up with anything not to do with gender stereotyping. That's fair enough.

Is there any point saying that boys and girls can share clothes? or that the scouts take boys and girls? Or that, because the grandparents might make tiresome comparisons might not be a valid reason to terminate/fail to implant a baby by gender?

blondefriend Fri 05-Jul-13 14:19:04

Like bebemad said I wonder how many people really understand what IVF and PGD actually involve. IVF can be an extremely invasive procedure and for every successful embryo implanted there are many, many more that die or are discarded. Personally (although I can understand why other people have differing views) I think that the loss of embryos is just about acceptable to allow infertile individuals to have a child or to avoid genetic disorders but I have a real issue with the idea of throwing away healthy "boy" embryos just to have a girl, or vice versa.

I do wonder if a person/couple who feel that desperate to have a child of a certain sex probably need some sort of counseling or support to help them through something that is obviously so important to them. I'm not trying to reduce the psychological affect that this must have on someone but if the lack of a girl is that upsetting to them then maybe there is another underlying issue that should be tackled instead. What is it that means that a girl is so important?

Obviously this whole thing can be changed to say "boy" rather than "girl" and actually I understand it more if there are cultural reasons. If having a boy means you are accepted by your family and society then surely that is a better reason than "to have a new best friend" or "to complete my family"?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Jul-13 14:30:59

ICBINEG Well my main reason as I stated is the school thing - having them in separate schools would be a pain (though I will do it if I think they'll benefit from different schools). And while Scouts does take boys and girls, Scouts isn't Guides. And Guides don't take boys.

Clothes and equipment they could share when they are younger, but as they get older their bodies will not be so similar. Of course there are other differences in body shape too, but there would be those differences whatever their sexes, so the sex-derived ones would be in addition. A minor matter probably, I would expect gender conformity would be a much bigger driver for the clothes issue in later years.

But, I had thought when you said stereotyping you meant my stereotyping and having a preference based on that. A personal - you need to get over your sexist assumptions - thing. I think that position has some validity but lacks compassion for people and tackles things the wrong way. It also leaves children exposed to being the "unwanted child" to a greater extent than sex-selection.

But if you mean to say it is not reasonable to look at the culture I live in and take that into account, then I don't really think your objection is valid. This is the culture I live in. It is the culture I bring my children up in. It is gendered. I cannot bring them up outside of it, it pushes expectations on us regardless of my stance. While I can and do challenge it, it still exists and it is the culture which would make having same sex children easier for me. Changing the culture is the answer to this. Banning sex selection does not do it.

I don't see a desire to avoid tiresome comments as being a less valid reason for destroying an embryo than pure chance is. Saying chance is a less bad reason is fatalistic. I think philosophies and ethical codes based on fatalism are distasteful; an attempt to avoid taking responsibility.

ICBINEG Fri 05-Jul-13 14:47:00

Well I agree you can't take on the whole of society single handed...BUT, you can draw the line at single sex schools, single sex activities like Guides and buying clothing only considered suitable for one sex. If you choose to engage with discriminatory schools, clubs and clothing, then yes you will find that gender is an issue. But that really is your choice.

Banning sex selection in IVF sends a clear message to society that is isn't okay to judge people solely on their gender.

Legalising sex selection in IVF sends a clear message to society that it IS okay to judge people solely on their gender.

Which of these messages would you rather have the government of this country broadcasting?

As a woman attempting to forge a career in a traditionally male dominated area, not to mention as the mother of a DD, I really really want the government to have a strong anti-sex discrimination policy.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 05-Jul-13 14:47:18


No,it being desired by your culture doesn't make it "better". There is a reason India, for example has banned gender reveal scans,private paying or not.

5madthings Fri 05-Jul-13 14:56:03

Exactly ice and if we allow gender selection you are giving the message that gender discrimination is OK. And this is the ultimate in discrimination, refusing to implant an embryo and give it the chance to grow purely because it is the 'wrong gender'.

Its not OK to discriminate according to gender and we need to send a clear message about that.

demisemiquaver Fri 05-Jul-13 15:09:14

DIGERD I happen to KNOW that in the 60's some people were told it was easier to get boys , as girls were more 'in demand'

yamsareyammy Fri 05-Jul-13 16:10:43

I suspect, that the majority of posters on this thread want girls.
If the population of this country wanted that too, we could for instance end up with 75% girls.
Where are all these girls going to get partners from?
Who are going to do the jobs that almost exclusively males do at the moment?
And the competition for certain jobs usually done by females would be phenominal.

GoodTouchBadTouch Fri 05-Jul-13 17:22:42

Yams, I have no idea why you suspect the majority would want girls, but if you read the thread, the only way PGD would be sanctioned for gender selection is if the couple use it for "family balancing" so they would have to have at least one of the opposite gender. Prevents any huge skew in gender ratios. Thats not a reason to prevent it

"Banning sex selection in IVF sends a clear message to society that is isn't okay to judge people solely on their gender.

Legalising sex selection in IVF sends a clear message to society that it IS okay to judge people solely on their gender.

Which of these messages would you rather have the government of this country broadcasting?"

This is a really good point. If you look at it as a gender equality issue rather than what a particular couple wants for their family, then it becomes much more serious. I can see its not as harmless as I first thought, although some of the arguments against it on here are pants.

Personally I think the reason nobody has given a list is because there arent any satisfactory answers. I think gender selection would only ever be done for selfish reasons, such as fancying pretty clothes and hairstyles etc. Not that that in itself is wrong, but I do appreciate legalising PGD would have far reaching consequences which I hadnt considered.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 17:54:48

It is quite clear on MN that people want girls. If ever a thread is about gender disappointment you know they had a boy. If ever people are bringing up a child to be gender neutral you know they had a boy.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 18:05:20

The sharing clothes and equipment is a real red herring. You can pick up baby stuff really cheaply at car boot sales etc. By the time they get expensive they refuse to wear cast offs.
There is generally a choice of mixed sexed schools if it is important they go to the same one.

I have been out all day and I see no one has produced a list of 'I want a girl because..........' Or 'I want a boy because............
I can't say it surprises me.

I also doubt whether someone who 'buys' the gender wants them in a friend's cast offs. It isn't their image of the 'perfect' child.

GoodTouchBadTouch Fri 05-Jul-13 18:13:05

Red Herring/load of bollocks. Would anyone pay 1000s for IVF in order to save a few quid by passing on clothes?

I think the vast majority would choose the opposite of what they already have

blondefriend Fri 05-Jul-13 19:57:14

Alis - you're right, gender selection is never acceptable. I can just understand why a woman might want to select a boy if her family would give her more attention, money, acceptance if she had one.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 20:44:27

I don't see how we are to persuaded if no one will give a list of reasons.
So far we have had the very weak 'share clothes and equipment' as if someone who can spend out on IVF can't get cheap clothes- it often doesn't work anyway if the you get child is bigger than the older (common) or the season is wrong. Since we have been told several times that the 'ideal' is one of each this doesn't make sense anyway.
If you want them to go to the same school you have to hope that it isn't selective because one might get in and the other not.there are more mixed sex comprehensives than single sex ones. Girls can go to all the Scout groups. If you have a girl who wants to go to Guide ones you can get second hand uniform cheaply.
Older siblings do not want invitations where younger siblings come too!

ICBINEG Fri 05-Jul-13 20:54:04

good "I can see its not as harmless as I first thought, although some of the arguments against it on here are pants."

I think we can shake hands on that one as I agree with both halves!

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 22:50:25

I agree with good that no one has given a list because there isn't a satisfactory one.
It won't be allowed because the only reasons are selfish ones -as in 'I want', 'I have the money', 'why can't I?' Added to gender stereotyping.

yamsareyammy Sat 06-Jul-13 00:08:10

Rules and laws can be changed.
So even if it started off being used for gender balancing, that does not mean that things wouldnt change in the future.

Also, as I suspected, no one has actually posted that they would choose a boy.

ICBINEG Sat 06-Jul-13 04:18:00

I wouldn't chose....I really wouldn't. But if you stuck a gun to my head and made me, then I would chose a boy. This is because I have suffered heavy periods, anaemia, endometriosis, hyperemesis and a spectacularly horrible birth and I would choose not to be responsible for the chance of putting another human being through that shit.....

I don't think the gender balance would be a big deal. I think the gender discrimination is a huge deal.

amazingmumof6 Sat 06-Jul-13 05:14:01

I have 6 smart but naughty kids ( 5 boys and baby girl)

can I buy a really well behaved one to balance it all out? grin

grrrr, the thought of someone being able to demand and choose a boy or a girl is very disturbing. shock angry

I would like two more kids. I don't think I will. the existing ones are wonderful but tiresome.
to be perfectly honest, yes, part of me would love 2 more girls to "balance it out", but I'm not even thinking about TTC until I feel I'm ready to have another baby!

in fact I still have a few lovely boys name in store, so yeah, 2 more boys would be fine!grin

amazingmumof6 Sat 06-Jul-13 05:20:07

oh my goodness!
I think I've just realised that 2 more boys would balance things out quite well!

DD would remain the only girl, but would not be the baby of the brood as well!


< thinking about which box contains mat clothes>wink

raisah Sat 06-Jul-13 08:47:44

The op is mistaken to think that this method wouldnt create a gender imbalance in the UK because the pressure to have a boy isn't as strong here as in other countries. Wrong because there is a large immigrant population here and some still obsess about having a son so this would be ideal for them. There have been reports of British Indian asaian women going back to the subcontinent to have a gender selected abortion done. Mainly due to pressure from the in-laws & I know of one man who divorced three previous wives who bore him daughters until he married a woman who gave birth to a son. This gender selective IVF will play into their hands & they wont bat an eyelid about getting a loan out to pay for it.

digerd Sat 06-Jul-13 10:01:03

As a woman, though, it would be nice to have more men to choose fromsmile and to have them flocking round as we'd be in great demand due to there being far less females than males.

Chunderella Sat 06-Jul-13 10:02:45

I have a non-sexist reason for preferring one sex to the other. Housing. Specifically, DH and I have one child, DD, and would like to have another. We have a two bedroomed house. If we have another girl, they can share a room in their teens. If we have another boy, not so, and we'd need a three bed at some point. This is going to be more expensive, particularly with our utterly fucked up housing systems.

Someone will no doubt suggest this is sexist, but I don't think it is. In most cultures, those of sexual maturity and beyond typically prefer to exercise intimate functions such as nudity and toilet, the latter not being applicable in this case, in front of their own sex only if not in private. And even cultures where this isn't the case often have some rituals or behaviours or at least something that is kept private from the opposite sex. Someone will also no doubt point out that people the world over all cram into one room, with a mixture of sexes and ages, which is also true. but not when they have a choice in the matter. Therefore I do not think it is reasonable to expect adolescents of different sexes to share a room.

That said, I certainly wouldn't put myself through IVF for all this. Quite apart from anything else, it could easily be even more expensive than a bigger house. But if Mother Nature manifested to me when we ttc and said right, shag on Day 14 and it'll be a boy, Day 15 and it'll be a girl, I'd go for the latter.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 06-Jul-13 23:25:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Sun 07-Jul-13 06:53:22

Boys have eating issues too- it just isn't as well known about. If you Google it you find lots of stories.

TimeofChange Sun 07-Jul-13 07:20:16

Ideally babies should be conceived from an act of union between the mother and the father who love each other.

Not a medical procedure in a sterile lab.
To choose this just to get the wanted sex is quite sick really.

MrButtercat Sun 07-Jul-13 08:07:59

Absolute rubbish time.

I have Ivf babies and natural - makes diddly squat difference.

TimeofChange Sun 07-Jul-13 08:24:25

Buttercat: I have said 'ideally'.

I also said 'ideally' as babies can be conceived naturally but through incest, rape and bullying.
Babies can be conceived naturally and be unwanted.

Would anyone really prefer to conceive a baby through IVF rather than having sex with the the person they love?

MrButtercat Sun 07-Jul-13 08:26:01

I've done both,it makes no difference.I've long since learnt that there is no ideal re conceiving,carrying or raising babies.

MrButtercat Sun 07-Jul-13 08:27:02

One size doesn't fit all.

TimeofChange Sun 07-Jul-13 09:21:27

But surely no one chooses to go for IVF without ttc naturally.

exoticfruits Sun 07-Jul-13 09:35:41

That is what the whole thread is about TimeofChange- people want to pay for the medical procedure because nature gives them odds of 50/50. They want to pay for the baby they want and not the one nature chooses for them.

5madthings Sun 07-Jul-13 09:40:59

I would assume those going through ivf etc would rather not have to and just do it the regular way, I donated eggs, I found it quite simple but it was invasive, scans, egg collection etc and I didn't have to go through it to try to get pregnant which obviously adds massive stress. Its an amazing technology to help those that need it. Not to be used for choosing gender.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 07-Jul-13 18:33:47

Timeofchange-I don't want to be soap boxy about this, but I do actually think our children's conceptions were acts of love of a kind. We went into the process thoughtfully, had to support each other and sometimes carry each other through the tough times. We had to learn to share the burden of infertility and love each other enough for it not to matter whose body wasn't able to conceive naturally and be grateful that one of us was fertile. We had to grieve together for a time that we couldn't conceive through a simple act of love. And don't forget that there was obviously a time before we knew we'd need fertility treatment to conceive where there was plenty of conventional stuff (although our three children will be in denial about that!)
Rest assured, there's plenty of love involved to make up for the lab bit. Gender selection-not sure. Ivf generally not an act of love-no way.

Poppycattlepetal Tue 09-Jul-13 10:13:35

Hi again,

Sorry for anoher long post from me. Thanks for all your posts which have been hugely thought provoking for me. I feel strongly that there is a problem with the UK law, because I see the option of sex selection as a matter of choice, (or at least an area that potential parents should have the freedom to negotiate on between themselves.) for me, making a choice between harmless things is harmless and people should be allowed to do it, especially where it means a lot to them.

I believe choice around how/whether/when/ to have children is crucial as these issues are so personal and individual to each person/couple/family. so the law should have the lightest possible touch here. As a woman I feel even more strongly about the choice issue because if women are going to be able to live their lives with equality to men, we need to be free to be able to decide how/whether/when to have children.

So because sex selection is available to people having IVF, I see it is as also right that couples/individuals should legally get to choose for themselves if they want to use it.

To those posters making the 'selfish' accusation, sorry but I don't see it. Who are the couple 'selfishly' denying the choice of whether they should use one particular one embryo of their embryos instead of another one? The embryologist? ..Nature? .. Chance? ...God?

And to those who would say- 'they are being selfish to the embryo who didn't get picked'.. That attitude is anti IVF which can destroy embryos inadvertantly through its processes and also can create more embryos than a couple want/need to use, so the surplus will get destroyed or donated to another couple or to research.

That attitude is also anti-contraception- are you also against the morning after pill and the coil- because they don't allow embryos to implant?

And you could also argue that that attitude is also anti-natural conception because naturally 1/3 of all embryos don't make it, apparently. So the only way to these issues is to swear yourself to celibacy or only have sex with people of your own gender, which is clearly not going to work for everyone...

The above are just arguments against having a choice in reproduction altogether, not in themselves arguments against sex selection . So I disagree with all this 'you'll get what you're given and you should be jolly well grateful' guff. It's a baby for a family we are talking about, not an overboiled Brussels sprout.

i think parliament should MIOB and allow the very few people who really care about this, what they want. i have still not read any good evidence it would cause harm (population skewed to one gender) if allowed. however, not allowing it is causing harm to people right now (distress or upset, medical trips to oher countries, financial hardship for unnecessary costs abroad, social stigma because it is a criminal act, and maybe even carrying on having children when you would really prefer to have had a smaller family).

Also it is hypocritical that the law butts in only where people need medical help to get pregnant but leaves people alone where they don't.

Sexist people are free to bring up their naturally conceived kids and limit their life choices etc but people who would like a boy or girl child (and need not be sexist people just because they feel that way) are forbidden to even attempt to have that child because they might be sexist?

This sort of legal interference is not an example of society's moral rectitude but of political convenience, because the necessity to involve medical professionals in IVF allows the anti-choice mob to get in and throw their weight around and dictate everyone else's private choices for them. So even if sec selection isn't something you would choose for yourself you should be worried by this.

working9while5 Tue 09-Jul-13 10:23:31

I don't think it's harmless though, is it?

If boys and girls/men and women bear equal status within not only a family but wider society, then it might be.. but this is not currently the case, certainly not cross-culturally. It's only a generation since my mother in law was made to dress her brother's bed, give way to him at the table, go without food for him if there was extra and her mother before her had to give up work on marrying due to a "marriage ban".

I actually have less issue with people choosing hair and eye colour. I'd have quite liked my boys to have my dark hair. That is harmless. Gender selection? Not so much so.

It's a tricky one for me, this argument. I had IVF Oct 2011 and had a healthy beautiful baby boy last August who I thank the stars for every day, he's such a gift. HOWEVER, we're hoping to try again next year for a sibling for him and I honestly don't know how I'd feel if I got the choice to pick a sex. Somehow, I feel that we've already "messed about" with nature enough (I had lots of gyne surgery due to cysts and other grimness that left me infertile at 32) so it's the only way we can have children. I think it's amazing that medicine and science can now do this. But somehow, it sits uncomfortably with me and I don't know why. I'd love a little girl. But I'd also love a little boy too for my DS. How would I feel knowing I'd rejected the other embryo for its sex? It's bad enough TBH knowing that the other eggs didn't make it in the lab, not to mention the other twin that died at 7 weeks. Nothing is straight forward and it's a roller coaster of very strong emotions for me.

Either way, I feel blessed that I brought, by whatever means, a perfect little boy into this world and if for some awful reason we can't have any more, then I'm still grateful every day for what I have. sob

MrButtercat Tue 09-Jul-13 10:49:45

Great post Poppy.

MrButtercat Tue 09-Jul-13 10:56:31

The thing is Mrs they only select the best anyway so some are getting rejected already by the embryologist purely re how they look and which grade they are- pretty much like nature.

We're talking a bunch of cells.

1 of ours didn't make it.I had 3 put in which resulted in twins.The third they wanted to re freeze but I said no.Although I had a pang of sadness the fact remains the weakest who didn't survive was no different to many embryos we all carry unwittingly that we lose to AF.They are a bunch of cells at this point however attached we may get.

I think maybe it might be OK, as most people with a preference will surely be balancing their own family ?
So probably wouldn't lead to an imbalance in society or other problems.
On the whole possibly has potential to increase overall happiness for parents and children ?
But I could be wrong !

Erebus Tue 09-Jul-13 11:12:24

Yes, but those 'bunch 'of cells' can grow into a (gendered) human being, and if its gender has been selected, it could well be born into a society where gender utterly dictates whether your life will be relatively easy or unrelentingly grim.

We may say 'but that's not how it is here in the UK'- maybe not currently, but 2 or 300 years ago, even up to our grandparents' generation (and my own 80 year old mum!), gender made a massive difference- so it just might again, hey?

While it all seems 'harmless', I wonder if it's a Pandora's Box? Especially as it will be the wealthy (and by extension, 'powerful') who get to make their choices thus possibly skewing the next generation of rich and powerful?

And the thing is, those of us who have boys and girls will say that many, many preconceptions (no pun intended!) we had about 'what my boy will be like', or 'what my girl will be like' are blown out of the water the moment that girl chooses battle fatigues as fancy dress aged 3, or that boy chooses Bratz over Action Man. 'Choosing' gender seems almost like 'choosing style of child'- and when we all chorus 'well, you can't choose what sort of DC yours will grown up to be!', the question stands 'Why the need to 'choose gender' when it makes so little difference to the outcome in our -ahem- 'gender neutral' society?'

MrButtercat Tue 09-Jul-13 11:13:01

That is how I view it Juggling and to be honest if it stops these families from having boy after boy or girl after girl in the attempt to get the sex they want it can only be a good thing.

The fact remains people want what they want and if they care that much to do IVF they'd do the same naturally- which the planet can ill afford and really is it in the best interest of the kids they've got to keep having more of the same sex.To know you were girl number 3 when mum was trying or a boy must be quite hard.

Erebus Tue 09-Jul-13 11:20:33

Maybe, MrButtercat, we shouldn't be encouraging the sort of family who sprog child after child til they get 'the right gender' at all! It's up there with 'If I scream loud enough, I'll get what I want'.

MrButtercat Tue 09-Jul-13 11:23:35

Erebus so people don't gender select naturally?

I think it's far grimmer having several children of a sex you did't want.Kids aren't daft. Banning gender selection won't stop people wanting a specific sex.It will still happen but worse that that children are brought into the world to disappointed parents.There are parents out there who would feel like this however unpalatable that may be or you or I.

Erebus Tue 09-Jul-13 11:32:54

BUT the thing is, it's so naive to think that all will be Joy and Light if, if only my DC was ^the right gender^- how about 'the right intelligence', 'the right temperament', 'the right height'. Maybe such parents need counselling rather than the ability to make such a simplistic choice!

What if that 'longed for' girl turns out to not be mummy's confidant and best mate? How disappointing would that be?!

PumpkinPie2013 Tue 09-Jul-13 12:00:15

No, I don't agree people should be able to choose the sex of their baby purely because they have a preference.

I haven't personally had IVF but know people who have and as has been said it is a long process with no guarantee of success so resources should be for those who need it not those who wish to choose.

My auntie and uncle would have loved children but sadly were unable to have any (in the days before IVF) so they had to come to terms with this. Had they had the chance of IVF, they would have been thrilled with a baby of any sex.

I also worry what else it would lead to in the future.

In my opinion if you are able to have children you should be willing to accept that you cannot choose. All children are a blessing whether they are a boy or a girl.

MrButtercat Tue 09-Jul-13 12:27:19

They wouldn't be taking resources away though,they're not suggesting the NHS should pay for it.

IVF is routine and the new recently discovered techniques are going to make it even safer and more successful.

I was told I'd never have children,still doesn't mean I don't love having both sexes and can't understand those who want the same.

Erebus Tue 09-Jul-13 12:30:16

I think again, all this is an example of the grey-quagmire that occurs when science out-races legislation.

Which is not to say we shouldn't have this debate, mind!

Talkinpeace Tue 09-Jul-13 12:37:02

Here is why it should NEVER EVER be allowed
in many societies girls are worth less than boys
especially those where dowries have to be paid to the grooms family

the sex ratio in China hit critical years ago
in India it is the cause of kidnap and trafficking
Pakistan is heading the same way

if families can select, many will have only sons.

MrButtercat Tue 09-Jul-13 12:53:51

China and India will do their own thing,we can't legislate for them.

We are Great Britain- a huge big meting pot containing many diff cultures.Some will want boys and some will want girls.Most imvho will want both.

itsonlysubterfuge Tue 09-Jul-13 13:31:52

What if you already had a girl/boy and want another of the same to use the same toys/clothes/pram/cot/whatever assuming you decided not to buy or were given gifts gender neutral items? As a way to save money. I'm not sure if someone has mentioned this.

I agree that having a child is a gift, but I think if you've dreamt of having a particular sex all your life, I don't think you are evil or shouldn't have children. I wanted a little girl, if I would have had a little boy I would have loved him all the same, but wanting to have a little girl would not have changed, does this make me a bad person? I do not think so.

I do think if you are having IVF for medical reasons you should be able to chose the sex, but I don't think you should be able to have IVF for the sole purpose of chosing to mix and match your child.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 09-Jul-13 13:57:14

Talkingpeace I see that as an argument for why there is no point in banning it. Surely if people are aborting female foetuses or abandoning or killing girl babies, it doesn't make any difference to allow sex selection with IVF. In fact allowing it may avert a worse outcome. The way to tackle such horrendous situations isn't to ban desperate actions, but to raise the status of girls and women.

Poppycattlepetal Tue 09-Jul-13 14:23:26

I think the parts of India and China where there is a huge pressure to have sons provide a terrible illustration about sexism and misogyny. Many other social problems flow from this, like women not being able to participate fully or fairly in education or the workforce or in democratic institutions. Economic problems result from female exclusion from full participation in society so you often then find societies with no decent social welfare system, which then turns the production of sons into an economic necessity for parents' decent survival in old age, and creates many other problems in society besides.

Sex selection has been illegal in India and China for many years- but that hasn't stopped some people doing it because of the huge importance around having boys that has developed from the huge importance of having boys IYSWIM. This preference/necessity and the damage it does to society is the problem to be addressed. Banning it without changing the complex social problems and attitudes associated is clearly not going to succeed.

But here in the UK fortunately the same social pressures are not in play. So we shouldn't use extreme examples from overseas to limit behaviour here which would be innocuous to the overall population in our own context. Allowing sex selection is not going to unbalance the population or otherwise make any perceptible difference to most of our lives.

merrymouse Tue 09-Jul-13 14:37:24

I think its a bad idea.

Agree with Erebus. Choosing the sex comes with the assumption that you can plan what kind of child you are going to have, and you really, really can't. I think you are better off just accepting the child that you have.

I am with the other posters who are concerned about the message this might send as to the relative value of each gender.

Further, you cannot select gender naturally and I think IVF (with the exception of genetic disorders) should seek to recreate the results seen in nature. In other words, IVF should just be a direct replacement for part of a natural process that for some reason isn't working as it should. IVF, should not be used to control outcomes if these outcomes couldn't be controlled in nature. Otherwise, I am concerned that it will be the start of a process to control more outcomes of the conception process e.g. intelligence, perhaps embryos that show a genetic disposition to diabetes or obesity (after all surely less diabetic or overweight people is good for society?).

mindosa Tue 09-Jul-13 15:51:58

Biology through the ages has ensured that there is a general balance of male vs female ratios.

I appreciate that IVF assists reproduction but it does not affect this ratio.

Why would we want to mess with this ratio and why allow it?

MrButtercat Tue 09-Jul-13 16:16:57

Chaz but my 2 are ICSI(sperm injected into the egg which the embryologists chose) and then frozen for a long time,they would never have happened naturally.IVF lets the sperm and egg do it themselves,it doesn't work for everybody.IVF was initially for women with dodgy tubes,not all if us have this fertility problem.

It already isn't a replacement for the natural process. Naturally I was never supposed to be a mum.

merrymouse Tue 09-Jul-13 16:31:56

buttercat I don't think you were never supposed to be a mum any more than somebody born with a heart defect was never supposed to live or somebody born with a disability affecting their legs was supposed to spend the rest of their life in bed.

Although I think it's possible to live a very fulfilling life without having your own children, I think it's reasonable to expect help if you want to have children but can't.

Choosing your child's sex, not to prevent some kind of genetic defect, but just because you have a particular idea of an imaginary life with a child of a certain sex, goes beyond that.

MrButtercat Tue 09-Jul-13 16:42:54

But my point is many children have been born when if left to nature or even bog standard IVF they wouldn't have.

Alarmists years back needlessly yelled Frankenstein babies etc and IVF pioneers couldn't even get funding.

At the end of the day they are just babies and consistently prove alarmists wrong.

What I was getting at was that the IVF / ICSI process just replaces the conception process that would happen if the infertility problem didn't exist. It doesn't do anything else. You can't select your child's sex naturally and I don't think you should be able to in the process that replaces that natural process.

I bet your children are very glad that you are their mum and bugger what was naturally meant in that respect.

merrymouse Tue 09-Jul-13 16:54:35

That's all true, MrButtercat, but I don't think it has much to do with the wisdom or otherwise of choosing the sex of a baby.

merrymouse Tue 09-Jul-13 16:55:27

(although perhaps you are responding to 1 or 2 odd opinions on this thread specifically about IVF...)

Talkinpeace Tue 09-Jul-13 17:01:21

But here in the UK fortunately the same social pressures are not in play
Oh I hope you are right that certain ethnic communities in the UK are not already resorting to pre implantation sperm spinning and all the other techniques to ensure they have boys
but I suspect you are not

Kendodd Tue 09-Jul-13 17:23:57

Sorry haven't read the whole thread.

I wonder though how it feels to be yet another girl/boy at the end of a long line of the same sex when the parents desperately what the opposite and if fact the only reason they had you at all was in the hope you might be a girl/boy. I always feel so sorry for the baby (never the parent) in cases like this and I feel very sorry for the younger children of the mum linked, greeted with disappointment at birth. Does that carry on for the child's whole life? Has anyone answered this up thread?

Another question I would like to know the answer to is why it matters so much what gender the baby is?

For what it's worth I would be very anti sex selection.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 09-Jul-13 17:53:52

Chaz we don't currently have life cycle, from conception to death, "seen in nature". We use technology in all sorts of ways to thwart nature's attempts at natural selection. Is it wrong of us to do that? To keep some people alive that "nature" would not permit? Or to stop some from being born that "nature's course" would have alive?

We bandy around this idea of human actions as being somehow outside nature, rather than a product of it. It's a misconception that allows people to draw arbitary lines about what is permissable and what isn't. I strongly believe we should have evidence of harm before we ban something - especially something that is done relatively sparingly as this is - there is plenty of time to watch and step in before harm is done to the public good. And it may be that by letting people follow their own consciounce we find the public good is enhanced.

merrymouse Tue 09-Jul-13 18:07:42

I think the 'evidence of harm' is that, leaving aside medical reasons, there is no sensible reason to select a child's sex.

Nobody has said anything on this thread to make me believe anything other than that parents think that by selecting their child's sex they can choose a certain kind of child. This is not possible, therefore why let people do something that is misguided?

I would change my mind if anybody could provide a sensible reason.

I would ask why is it a good thing to allow people to select the sex of their child (other than for medical reasons)?
Intervening to save someone's life arguably is a good thing both on an idividual and social level.

individual not idividual

EmmelineGoulden Tue 09-Jul-13 18:53:41

How will you find out if something can be beneficial or not if you don't allow it? If there aren't benefits, if people don't get what they are after out of it (as many people here keep claiming they won't), then it is unlikely to continue as a practice.

I do think there is good in ensuring children aren't born into a family unwanted. However much I disagree with why a particular sex may not be wanted, I really abhore the idea of people being brought up in families that don't want them because of arbitary rules imposed by the state.

I think there is also good in a general sense (e.g. in the absence of harm) in allowing people to plan and act on those plans whether you or I perceive their reasoning to be valid or not, and similarly I think there is nothing wrong with people following their whims.

merrymouse Tue 09-Jul-13 19:34:45

But there is no guarantee that the child would match up to the parent's image of the child they wanted just because they were a particular sex.

There has still been no coherent explanation of why you would do this. When you have a child you have to be open to whatever they will be - LGBT, with mental or physical differences, tall, short, academic or not, prepared to give you grandchildren or not or emigrating to Australia when they are 18.

Murraylover Tue 09-Jul-13 19:55:43

The odds of successful ICSI or IVF are depressingly low. They're expensive, up to 3months per session & flood your body with aggressive hormones/drugs to take over your system.
No-one in their right mind would decide to attempt treatment lightly.

louisianablue2000 Tue 09-Jul-13 19:58:07

It's clearly not a good thing to do, mainly for the message it send sout about gender equality in the wider world as PPs have said.

FWIW I have three children, the first two were the same sex and so of course everyone assumed I would want the third child to be the opposite sex. We didn't mind what we had and didn't find out but because everyone was always asking what I preferred we did chat about it a bit. I'm maybe not the best person to ask since I really don't think sex has much influence on personality. The only arguments we could come up with were as follows:

Could reuse favourite non-gender neutral clothing given as presents (the stuff I buy is as gender neutral as I can manage)
sharing of bedroom

Get to use favourite name for other gender
Can't be accused of not knowing what it's like to parent the other gender

And, em, that's it. Can't say either list was very strong either way and certainly not enough to go through IVF for.

Murraylover Tue 09-Jul-13 20:05:40

The only person I know this remotely applies to is a collegue who had 4MC's (girls) until she had a boy naturally in her 30s.
After 4failed ICSI attempts over as many years I think this threads really disappointing!

exoticfruits Tue 09-Jul-13 20:46:05

Excellent posts merrymouse. I can't see how choosing the sex helps in the least - it is the personality that counts. If you have a certain image of a girl in your mind, or an image of a boy, then the odds are that you will be disappointed.

KatherinaMinola Tue 09-Jul-13 21:58:21

merrymouse Tue 09-Jul-13 18:07:42
^I think the 'evidence of harm' is that, leaving aside medical reasons, there is no sensible reason to select a child's sex.

Nobody has said anything on this thread to make me believe anything other than that parents think that by selecting their child's sex they can choose a certain kind of child. This is not possible, therefore why let people do something that is misguided?

I would change my mind if anybody could provide a sensible reason.^

OK, I haven't read the whole thread, so these points may have been said already.

1) People who have had extremely difficult and abusive upbringings quite often want to avoid (or even dread) having the same family 'pattern' as in their birth family. Some are relieved at having a different pattern (eg a girl first instead of a boy) and some deliberately engineer a different family mix - eg by having three children rather than one, etc. I have had this conversation with several people in this situation, so I think it's quite a common feeling.

2) Parents who have lost a child sometimes want another child of the same sex (or they very much want the other sex).

You could argue that they should all have counselling instead. I think these are valid reasons for wanting a child of a certain sex, though.

exoticfruits Tue 09-Jul-13 22:18:19

I think that they should have the counselling- your scenarios seem to be placing expectations on the DC.

KatherinaMinola Tue 09-Jul-13 22:22:37

I agree that that's a possibility in scenario 2, exotic, where the parents want a child of the same sex (though I don't think it's necessarily the case even then). But wanting a child of the opposite sex isn't, I think...?

In scenario 1, I really don't think it is the case - it's more about a ritual / symbolic break with the past.

exoticfruits Tue 09-Jul-13 22:44:47

I think that all cases need counselling. I agree that wanting a 'replacement' of the same sex is worse, but actively avoiding it isn't healthy either.
In case 1- it might help break the pattern, but it is by no means sure. The problem is within the parent and not the child.

KatherinaMinola Tue 09-Jul-13 22:58:05

Yes, of course the problem is within the parent not the child. But I think these are still valid reasons.

I do know a couple who have a child of the opposite sex to the child that died. I don't know how they feel, but the extended family are mightily relieved... I think mainly because it avoids the freight of expectation on that child.

Re scenario 1, it's about a 'symbolic' breaking of the pattern - not per se a way to avoid the pattern being repeated.

Anyway, just wanted to throw out these examples that are not about sexism...

It does not seem right to want to choose the sex of your child. I can understand that some parents have a preference.

You only have to look at the problems brought in China and India.

This article from 2010 puts it very well, I think.

"And then the real clincher: wasn't sex selection for the benefit of the parents, rather than of the child? The report noted that, among some respondents, "The view was that it is one thing to wish to have a child of one sex rather than the other and another thing to take steps to bring it about, since positive intervention in this area changes one's relationship to the outcome, replacing hopes with expectations… Respect for the future child's value as an individual precludes the exercise of control by parents over the kind of child it is to be, including over its sex."

The article is very interesting and concludes....

"But at the heart of this debate remains the fact that every child, while belonging to one sexual group or another, is unique. When you have a child, you open yourself to that uniqueness – our most intimate of relationships is with a person who starts out unknown to us.

So you choose your child's sex at a price. You compromise a little bit of that unknownness. You chip away at the idea of their uniqueness. And when you do have your baby, you don't get a generic girl. You get Susan. Or Jane. Or Eleanor.

Or Ted.

It is the end of the day and I've just collected Ted, the younger of my two sons, from his school. In the car, I tell him I've been writing about people choosing the sex of their children.

He says, "What did you want?"

"I don't know," I reply. Of course I know. "Before you were born, Granny used to say you'd be 'a little brown-eyed sister for Sam'. And then out came Ted!"

I look at my lovely son. Brown hair, freckles, lunch stains down his front, shirt hanging out. He's fiddling with the radio controls. He always fiddles.

He says, "I mean, if you had a baby now?"

"Well, of course I'd want a girl!"

He says, "Hmm."

"Girls are less trouble, you know."

"Yeah," he says. "But boys are funner.""

exoticfruits Wed 10-Jul-13 06:12:40

I don't think that it is a valid reason, Katherina, the parent has a problem- looking to gender selection to solve it isn't the answer.

Very true, ItalianGreyhound. It is the uniqueness - and that is nothing to do with gender.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 08:05:06

I don't think people who want a particular sex necessarily want a particular type of child other than to specify the sex. Nor do they necessarily have more ingrained or stronger ideas about natural sex differences or appropriate gender behaviour than most parents who don't have a preference.

People with ingrained ideas about "boys" or "girls" will treat whatever baby they have in accordance with those ideas. They will have expectations of their child based on those ideas. The fact they haven't chosen the sex doesn't mean they won't treat them in a sexist manner and ignore the "uniqueness" of their child.

merrymouse Wed 10-Jul-13 08:07:53

katherina I agree with others that, having chosen the sex, the problems would still be there,unresolved, in both cases.

I know we all have false expectations of parenting and who our children will be. Perhaps nobody would become a parent at all if they had accurate foresight of everything it would entail.

However, believing that you can control the experience in this way is, to be honest, delusional.

Trills Wed 10-Jul-13 08:10:09

Sexist parents will be sexist. Yes. That is true.

That doesn't mean we should give people what they want on the basis of "they'll be sexist anyway". I believe that having had the opportunity to choose the sex of the child will encourage them to believe that they were "right" in wat they wanted and that the child must therefore perform the role they have designated for them.

I can't think of a single non-sexist reason for wanting to choose the sex of your child (genetic conditions aside).

merrymouse Wed 10-Jul-13 08:10:37

emmeline, but if the only bit of their child they want to decide on is their reproductive organs, why do it?

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 09:06:23

Trills " I believe that having had the opportunity to choose the sex of the child will encourage them to believe that they were "right" in wat they wanted and that the child must therefore perform the role they have designated for them."

But it's just a belief. Sex selection is available in the US - we should look to see if there is evidence this actually happens before we ban people from doing it.

I would have no problem with a ban if there were evidence it caused harm to the children born or to the public at large. I have no problem with saying it shouldn't be available on the NHS. But I really baulk at the state making something illegal and taking away individual sovereignty without a good reason and especially on the basis of basically not trusting people to make their own decisions, even though there is no evidence the things people would decide to do would hurt others. I see this as an issue of autonomy.

MrButtercat Wed 10-Jul-13 09:25:50

Exactly Emme so all parents who want it will raise their dc in a sexist way but every other parent and parents of several of the same sex on a crusade to get both won't.hmm

Going by that logic methinks an awful lot of other things hold be banned too eg almost all clothes aimed at young girls,pretty much the entire contents of most toy shops,nearly all comics etc,etc

MrButtercat Wed 10-Jul-13 09:26:36

The fact remains the vast majority couldn't afford it anyway.

Threewindmills Wed 10-Jul-13 09:57:02

No - unless there is an overriding reason, for example a devastating genetic condition affecting only one sex

merrymouse Wed 10-Jul-13 10:07:10

Sexism is not the issue.

The issue is that parents would be doing it with the false impression that this medical procedure would enable them to determine the kind of child they might have.

Clearly parents do all sorts of misguided things already.

However, it is wrong for a doctor to support misguided beliefs.

There is no need to wait until some 30 year old in America sues their parents for psychological damage because they resented the fact that the girl they 'bought' preferred to go by the name of John. (Although as anything is possible in America, I suspect that somebody somewhere will do that...and probably John is a girl's name in America anyway...).

We can tell that it is nut jobbery now.

MrButtercat Wed 10-Jul-13 10:17:14

Merry that is ridiculous.Parents have wanted particular sexes since Stone Age.Wanting both doesn't mean you will rise your child in a sexist way any more than the vast maj of parents who hope for a particular sex every single day already.

Damnautocorrect Wed 10-Jul-13 10:24:44

On the surface I think why not, but then you look at certain religions and cultures- that's a whole can of worms

If you look at china, there's a massive lack of unmarried men, women with a husband and bil comes with the package.

Pyrrah Wed 10-Jul-13 10:31:04

I personally don't have a problem with it.

Plenty of people do various things to try and up their chances of a child of a particular gender - Shettles method for example - does that make them bad parents?

Many, many parents do have a preference - doesn't mean they reject their baby if it turns out to be the other. I had a preference for a girl, DH didn't mind. I was convinced I was having a boy and when they said girl at the scan I was almost momentarily disappointed I'd got so used to the idea of a boy.

My IL's have 4 boys - I know FIL would have loved a daughter... instead he's now got 7 grand-daughters and not a single grand-son. I know my MIL worries about saying the wrong things to her DILs (she never does - she's the MIL of one's dreams) and admits it would have been nice to have had a daughter although she adores all her sons.

The Ingender Forum, has many women who go there to deal with their gender disappointment in a safe space.

I have several friends who have struggled with coming to terms with their family only having children of a certain gender - they don't love their existing children any less, they just feel that they wouldn't have another if they couldn't guarantee the gender.

One friend lost her daughter very tragically at 39 weeks - she's since had 2 little boys, but openly admits that she would have loved another little girl. Not to 'replace' the child who died, but because she had certain dreams and hoped for a relationship like her own with her own mother.

Obviously children come with their own personalities and you can guarantee nothing. I was a total tomboy and have got a pink princess who likes all the toys that I would have hated as a child, but I rather enjoy indulging her!

Many parents hope for eventual grandchildren and their children decide not to have any - doesn't make it wrong for their parents to have that desire though.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 10:47:29

merry you have no evidence for the claim that parents inclined towards sex selection would be more inclined to psychologically damage their child. You may be unable to imagine someone having a preference for their child's sex without them being wedded to an inflexible stereotype, but that really is your shortcoming. The thing about people is that though they frequently go with the crowd, they are diverse and adaptable.


My heart goes out to your friend who lost her daughter as baby. Her reasons for wanting a daughter, whilst understandable, are about her and not the child. She wants a particular relationship but even if she had a daughter that relationship might not materialise.

My DM was seriously ill for part of my childhood and died when I was a teenager. I do wonder what it would be like to have a daughter (I have sons) and to have a settled mother/daughter relationship into adulthood because I have never experienced it. However, this is 100% my issue and I think it would be a heavy burden to place on a child to select them by sex to fill a gap in my own experience.

I think parents who want to select the sex of their child really to need to look very closely at what is driving this desire and if they are actually using the child to fill a void or fulfil dreams that belong to the parent.

merrymouse Wed 10-Jul-13 10:53:08

Again it's not about sexism. It's about accepting the child that you have. What if your child has mental health issues? What if they have a disability?

It is one thing vaguely thinking you might like a boy or a girl because you attach certain traits to each sex but accepting that its out of your control. It is quite another thing thinking that you can choose your child's sex and have that control.

I agree that parents have preferred one sex or the other throughout history, and I could give you many, many practical explanations for this. There are even practical reasons for why you might want one sex over another in countries outside the UK.

These reasons do not apply in the UK in 2013.

Still nobody has been able to given a good reason for actively choosing the sex of their child, beyond avoiding genetic disorders.

merrymouse Wed 10-Jul-13 10:55:39

You may be unable to imagine someone having a preference for their child's sex without them being wedded to an inflexible stereotype, but that really is your shortcoming.

No, it is because nobody has been able to give a reason that does't involve a stereotype.

merrymouse Wed 10-Jul-13 10:56:16


MrButtercat Wed 10-Jul-13 11:07:20

And nobody has given evidence that a couple raising a sex selected child would raise it any differently than a couple who wanted a particular sex and got it naturally( which happens every single second of every single day).

Bizarrely I wanted my IVF twins to be boys(having only had a sister) but woud have been overjoyed after 7 years of trying with whatever I got.
I fell pg naturally by mistake with dd and thought I'd love to see what a girl is like sooo again got exactly what I wanted if I could have chosen.If dd had been made with gender selected IVF she wouldn't have been raised any differently.

MrButtercat Wed 10-Jul-13 11:12:59

People get what they want day in and out.

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 10-Jul-13 12:17:22

We'd like to think boys wouldn't be the preferred choice but, I'm sorry, the cynic in me says they would be. I suppose we'll see statistics bearing this out in future years, should this become an option.

LondonMan Wed 10-Jul-13 12:35:38

A form of Eugenics, surely?

Why is eugenics always wrong?

All I'm able to summon up from general knowledge is that Nazis were in favour, so that means we have to be against it.

Mussolini is claimed to have made trains run on time, by the same logic we should oppose railway punctuality.

LondonMan Wed 10-Jul-13 12:41:22

Why is eugenics always wrong?

I should point out that there's no easy answer to this. A particular bad consequence that isn't preventable by regulation would not be a good enough reason to be against. You have to weigh up all the potential harms against all the potential goods, after assuming a particular regulatory environment.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 14:53:13

Eugenics is an attempt to deliberately mold the genetic composition of populations, allowing parents to choose the sex for their baby doesn't do that.

Our attempts to relieve genetic conditions through IVF screening could be a form of eugenics if done on a wide scale, as the intent and effect would be to remove those particular genes from the gene pool.4

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 14:58:19

Eugenics is an attempt to deliberately mold the genetic composition of populations by removing "undesirable" traits, simply allowing parents to choose the sex of their baby doesn't do that.

Our attempts to relieve genetic conditions through IVF screening could be a form of eugenics if done on a wide scale, as the intent and effect would be to remove those particular genes from the gene pool.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 15:25:31

Sorry for double post.

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 19:12:40

Its all very well to say we shouldn't allow it because its all about the wishes of the parents and not the children but that absolutely applies to having kids full stop. We have children because we want a child. We want that love, that bond, that experience. Having children is, 90% of the time, a selfish act.

Most of what Ive read on this thread is the same sort of arguments that were given against IVF when it was first introduced. They all sorted themselves out and did not cause an epidemic of children with severe disabilities as was often suggested would happen due to bypassing natural selection.

I have 2 girls and 2 boys so it doesn't affect me either way but I love the experience of having both boys and girls and even though all 4 are very different, it is a different experience parenting girls and boys.

exoticfruits Wed 10-Jul-13 19:19:43

I have 3boys- each one is a different parenting experience.

The only reason that anyone as given outside of gender stereotyping is the number of bedrooms- but that means 2 children of the same gender- apparently the 'ideal' is one of each.

I am still waiting for a list of - I want a girl because .......... Or I want a boy because..........

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 19:20:44

Yes, I'm not sure how reasonable it is to suggest that the family with 3 healthy happy sons who just happen to also want a daughter,
a)Love their sons any less because they are boys
b)Will not treat any subsequent girl exactly the same as they treat their boys ie bringing them up in a loving home environment.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 19:26:46

I also pointed out that having DCs of the same sex would be easier from a schooling perspective. and would likely be easier from an activities perspective.

I can't really see how, in a gendered society, it could fail to be different to parent boys and girls. I can see how others' expectations of my daughters because they are girls impact my experience of parenting.

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 19:30:22

I have had 2 thoughts
Isnt it remarkable that by "nature" each and every country has more or less equal numbers of boys and girls.

The other thought. Do people in this country currently have abortions if it is not the sex they want? [aside from medical reasons]

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 19:37:56

Emmeline, my DDs are as far apart nature wise as you could imagine. DD1 is academically gifted and will probably never be content in life as she is crazily competitive at everything she does from school work to sports to board games. DD2 on the other hand is academically average or maybe slightly above this year. but she is the most content, happy, chilled out child I know. She is also very girly whereas DD1 most certainly is not. DS1 and DD2 are far more alike in nature. So as far as my girls go, neither their academic needs nor their leisure activities are remotely similar despite them being the closest in age of the 4.

exoticfruits Wed 10-Jul-13 19:39:09

It isn't easier from activities if you have 3 boys who like entirely different things. It really doesn't follow 'he is a boy so he will like the same as his brother'. Most schools are mixed- if they are not it can be a huge advantage- it is terribly difficult if a child is a enrage and following a very talented sibling- much better to be in different schools.

exoticfruits Wed 10-Jul-13 19:39:50

Sorry - child is average following a talented sibling.

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 19:59:19

Oh I haven't sent them to different schools as im hoping the same school can cater for their differing needs. DS1 is also at the school and he sort of sits between the girls academically and tbh, DD2 never shows any sign of being in her sister's shadow as she seems inherently happy to be her. I think it's a fantastic trait and will serve her well in life.

I was just commenting that having two of the same sex close in age is not always going to be an easier path.

badfaketan Wed 10-Jul-13 20:17:32

yamsareyammy the gender is given at the 20 week scan in this country.The cut off for abortion for "social" reasons is 24weeks.2 doctors need to sign a form for any termination to proceed.
I don't think there are many who would be comfortable doing this after 20 weeks just for gender.
I don't have any facts but my guess is no,very few terminations are done for gender alone in this country.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 20:25:31

Most schools might be mixed, but the ones near me aren't. And there is no real school choice in my area, you basically get into your nearest or you're out of area, which might also be single sex and would in any case be inconvenient. You might think it generally an advantage not to go to the same school, but I do not.

I know interests aren't guaranteed, and later on I would think different interests would be better. But I am hoping they can be persuaded to try out similar things until they can make there own way places, otherwise their activities are going to be limited. Since they live in a gendered society, with a sadly limiting impact on what activities they are likely to want, they are more likely to be happy with sharing interests if they are the same sex. I'm keen on Guides because they take a firm stand on providing a counter to a lot of the sexist messages girls constantly get about their looks, but if I had a boy that wouldn't really work as a shared activity. If we could change society to be less gendered, the sex of a child would not impact this sort of aspect of family life.

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 20:52:57

Well on Sat mornings, DD2 does ballet whilst DD1 plays hockey. DS1 has piano and DS2 just needs to be carted around to all this. DD1 boaked at the idea of ballet whereas DD2 couldn't wait. They both started rainbows. DD1 also hated that as apparently it is very indoorsy with lots of craft stuff going on. She changed to beavers and loved it but didn't want to continue onto cubs as peer pressure started to come into play. DD2 loves Rainbows as it's right up her street. And you're right, they do challenge stereotypes but I also found that they do tend to concentrate on what many/most 5&6yr old girls want, which is girly stuff.

DS2 has SN so we'll be entering a whole new ball games when it comes to educating him!

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 20:56:04

Emmeline I guess, if you're in the UK, you're talking about secondary schools? Mine are all still at primary. I think DS1 (who hated beavers) may have far preferred rainbows but of course, he knew it would be social suicide. It's a shame that society dictates such things.

exoticfruits Wed 10-Jul-13 21:28:46

Rainbows don't take boys so he wouldn't have the option.

exoticfruits Wed 10-Jul-13 21:33:20

Choice of school depends on the child- the best for one is not necessarily the best for another- they may even be prevented from going to the same one if it is selective.

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 21:39:18

How do rainbows justify not accepting boys then? Dd1 had no problem joining beavers. They already had another girl there and they welcomed her.

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 21:46:50

We are looking at a selective but not super selective independent secondary for ours. I do have the option to put dd1 forward for the entrance exam at the super highly selective girls school but I won't be going down that road. I feel it would be too narrow and academic and I can just see them and her suggesting 6 a levels or something equally as ludicrous. I know she's super bright but I won't an environment that will stretch her in other directions. I'm not interested in paying for results in that sense.
I'm also not sure how you logistically get all your kids to different schools. Ds2 looks like he'll need something different.
Anyway, sorry for the tangent.

RestingUnderTheSun Wed 10-Jul-13 22:06:48

I think the reason isn't about stereotyped ideas on gender. It's the fat that we would be allowing selection of embryos for reasons that have nothing to do with the health of the incoming baby.
So IVF for infertile couple - fine.
Chromosome selection for health screening - fine
but chromosome selection for non life threatening issues - NG.

This is an ethical dilemma. Is it OK to let people go through IVF and select the sex when they could have had a baby 'normally? IVF babies have more health problems, there is a also a higher rate of abnormalities etc etc. Is that Ok to 'create' a baby with a higher risk of health issues?
What would be a good enough reason to take that risk?

I know some people, actually all are women, who carried on until they had a girl after a string of girls. And other that decided to stop at 2 because 'they had one of each' but would have had 3 otherwise (in an attempt to have a boy/girl). I do get that this can be a real issue for some people. But surely, supporting the parents instead of creating a baby as they would like him/her to be isn't the solution?

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 22:06:49

exotic the vast majority of parents in this country use the state system which in reality, barring exceptional circumstances, can give little real choice in regard to which school a chld attends. I might well think one state school suits one daughter better than the other, but I won't have any effective means of ensuring they got into the 'best' school for them. And that would presuppose I thought the advantages of being at their individual 'best' school was greater than the advantages of them being at the same school.

All of which nicely illustrates how parents should be allowed to make their own choices because they are the ones that know their own circumstances best.

Mary like adult clubs, children's clubs are allowed to serve just boys or just girls. They don't have to justify. Scouting became co-ed in order to boost falling numbersand so improve the Scouting experience for all. Girl Guides did not think that move would serve their members well and position themselves as providing a safe space for girls to gain the sorts of leadership experience and the like their research shows girls are often crowded out of in co-ed spaces.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 10-Jul-13 22:14:28

So resting if it's all about health, are we not to allow parents to choose anything that is not in keeping with statistics on healthy babies? Should elective c-sections be crimminal? Should formula become perscription only?

exoticfruits Wed 10-Jul-13 22:16:30

That is simply not true! In our area you had to have your DC down shortly after birth to get a place in Beavers and the cubs, scouts etc were full. They were pressurised to take girls because many girls wanted to join, thinking it more exciting. Guides didn't take them because many cultures would not want their girls in an organisation that took boys. Boys wouldn't want to join anyway.

I take the point about schools but the majority of state secondary schools are mixed.

MrButtercat Wed 10-Jul-13 22:20:39

Can we quit the anti IVF scaremongering. IVF babies do not have more health problems,what rot.

Think there was a study that found an increase in 0.1. % of multiple births.That is almost negligible.New techniques are reducing multiple births.

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 22:22:21

Actually, I found that beavers 'crowded out' my ds1. He didn't seem to fit because it was full of sports loving, physical, testosterone fuelled boys who wanted to run wild. Dd1 fitted right in to that environment but not ds1.

And it's a shame if Guides feel that they offer a safe place by only allowing girls at rainbows and then fail to offer anything but sedate activities which ironically would have suited my son.

exoticfruits Wed 10-Jul-13 22:33:51

All depends in the leaders MaryKatherine- not so in ours at all, we were very good at special needs, didn't do sports that they did elsewhere and they most certainly didn't run wild! Every beaver group is different.

MaryKatharine Wed 10-Jul-13 22:57:27

Yes, luck of the draw I suppose! Much like the children you get! grin

MaryKatherine, you said "Its all very well to say we shouldn't allow it because its all about the wishes of the parents and not the children but that absolutely applies to having kids full stop. We have children because we want a child."

I don't think it is an issue about the wishes of the child or the wishes of the adult it is what is is of benefit to the child. If you choose to create one child over another because of sex selection it cannot possibly be in the best interest of the child you do not create - although conversly it is in the best interests of the child created! Since each child is completely unique.

The article I linked to before contains the phrase...

"But the Gunns got a third boy.

They are, of course, thrilled. But, Susan says, "I got sick of walking down the high street past BabyGap and seeing these delightful little girl outfits in the window and just getting this pang."

I do wonder how much people are imagening what they think a boy or girl will be like, a girl in floaty dresses, a boy good at sports etc. It isn't always like that. I really don't blame people for wanting a baby or wanting a baby who is a boy or a girl. We had lots of fertility treatment to try and have a second child. It doesn't always work! It's very invasive and expensive and it can take over your life. I don't blame people who want to chose the sex of the child but I do agree it should not be allowed. Since to choose means to choose not to, and although baby girls seem to be flavour of the month in the west at the moment that is not the case globally. Much better for all children to be valued I feel.

PS I wasn't implying you or anyone did not think all children should be valued! It just strikes me as difficult to be able to choose such a significant thing, to select life based on gender. For to not be that desired gender means not to be able to live.

Cheerymum Thu 11-Jul-13 00:25:59

I was very reluctant to wade into this thread as there seem to be so many black and white views. But here is my situation: husband and I wanted 2, maybe 3 kids. I had no real gender preferences, though I vaguely imagined a mix. I was taken by surprise at the overwhelming joy I felt when I found out our first would be a girl, do I guess on some level, maybe it was important to me to have a girl. I would say I am lucky to be a daughter in a very close relationship with an amazing mother, and I suppose my joy partly was a reflection of hopefully being able to mirror that in the next generation. My husband adores our daughter, but I think had similar feelings about wanting to emulate his father-son relationship, or even hopefully surpass it, as his father was at times a bit distant.
So when the time came to try for number 2, we timed intercourse to the day of ovulation in the vague belief it might slightly shift the odds in favour of a boy. Actually I had a MC, I sometimes wonder what he/she would have been like, as most women who have miscarried naturally do.
We are now expecting identical twin girls. Hugely excited about it, and we will both love them dearly, though my husband wonders if he'll still feel a bit of a gap having imagined life with a son. Time will tell.
I think it is unrealistic to suggest parenting both sexes is the same - not so much when they are children, but in the relationships you will have with them as adults. I find it offensive that it would seem most posters on here would assume us to be sexist, wanting identikit mini-us children if we considered a 4th and used gender selection to have a boy. Our girls are firmly adored and cherished to do and become whatever makes them happy.
Ultimately, I suspect we'll stop at 3; we are priveleged to have our lovely daughter and two more coming, and we don't for a second underestimate that privilege. My main reservations about ivf for so called "gender balancing" are the risks to me of the process and the destruction of "spare" embryos, as well as the cost and hassle of the whole process and having to do it overseas. I don't know if the feelings (mainly) my husband has about it are a good enough reason to investigate further, and indeed, neither does he. We'll have to re-evaluate in a few years time. But to suggest we are sexist and bad (not fit?) parents to consider it is frankly ill informed and offensive, in my opinion.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 05:52:51

exotic I certainly did not mean to say there wasn't demand for Scouts by girls (wouldn't be much of a tactic if no girls had wanted to join). But pressure on troops to survive had a big impact in getting them to open their doors. Some Scout groups always took it on themselves to let in the odd girl against the rules. In the 1990s it became a choice for troops to do so within the rules. Membership fell through the 90s, and taking up the option to open up membership to girls was one way troops survived. Scouts made co-ed the default for troops in 2007, numbers have grown since then.

Entry into the movement is now around 50/50. Girls are essential to the continued success of Scouts as a large youth movement.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 07:36:37

I think that you will find very few groups that are 50/50. They are mainly boys with a few girls.

I think it is unrealistic to imagine the relationship that you will have with them as adults. The fact that you have a wonderful one with your own mother doesn't mean that it will happen with your own DD- it is all down to uniqueness and personality. Many women don't get on with their MIL and don't seem to realise they may produce a mini MIL- her genes will be in the mix! I know many people who get on with their grandmother far better than their own mother. Lots have a wonderful adult relationship with their DS because they share the same interests, sense if humour etc.
To say you want a girl for an adult friend is the same as anything- down to luck.

Those who think they want to buy 'delightful little girl outfits' will have to hope they get a DD who wants to wear them once they get to an age they can show a preference.

I have a lovely friend who has a lovely mother. The mother never got her in dresses and they never had the wonderful adult relationship- both nice people- just nothing in common.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 08:38:48

I looked it up- 5 boys to every one girl. 33,500 are waiting to join- the crisis is in finding leaders not in finding DCs.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 08:46:10

There was only one other girl when dd joined and then another joined just before she left so certainly nothing like 50/50.
Rainbows is unashamedly girly. Or certainly ours is. The woman who runs it has 3 daughters and it is very geared towards society's idea of what a 6yr old girl should be.
Ds1 would not have enjoyed the girlyness but would have certainly preferred the more sedate activities such as craft, craft and um more craft!

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 08:55:42

I said entry is ~50/50 (in fact more girls than boys in 2011). Current ratio approx 5B:1G. Quite wide variation across the country.

I agree it is unrealistic to expect that the realtionship you imagine will reflect reality, but most people have thoughts about their children's futures and there is often a degree of wishful thinking that they endeavour to help (university would be another example). It's not entirely down to luck - nurture influences as well as nature. And statistically, since we do live in a gendered society, there are things that are far more likely to happen with a child of one sex than another. So parents can skew "luck".

But that doesn't mean a parent will be inclined to force an unwanted role on their child because the parents chose sex-selection. Just as genetic screening for health doesn't mean parents will be more likely to abandon their child if s/he gets sick because they chose to screen before implantation.

RestingUnderTheSun Thu 11-Jul-13 09:16:51

But that would mean you will set expectation to your child. That he/she will go to Uni, that she/he will do this and that (ie have a fantastic relationship with me as a mum because she is a girl, will get married and have children etc...).
What do you do when said child then doesn't conform to these ideas?

I remember when I did the NCT class, the leader asked us what were our aspirations for our dcs. It made me think. I have 2 boys and yes I hoped that they would get married and have dcs of their own. I also hoped they would go to Uni.
Reality? one ds will probably not go to Uni but would manage well a more hands on work and be very happy with it. (Both me and DH have done long Uni studies and both have always thought ^it is a V.E.R.Y. important thing^).
As for getting married and have dcs of their own.... I am not so sure either, especially for one of them. He certainly will not follow the 'traditional route' and has never done so.

Now I can be disappointed and mourn what I hoped would be and will not. Or I can appreciate that I have 2 wonderful children, who are happy in their own skin and will carry their life the way they want to, not the way I wish/hope they will.

I think it's the same with having a girl/boy. Different cultures will make having a boy or a girl as being better than the other. Some will put a lot of emphasis on the mother-daughter relationship. Others will look at carrying the name from one generation to the next.
What I would find a shame is to start with the idea that you can't possibly have a relationship as close with your ds than your dd as they get older. Because it's setting yourself up to be in that exact situation. The same way that we tell our girls that they will never be as good in maths as boys and then wonder why so few girls take A levels in maths/science.
Nature against nurture again. I personally have decided to try and have the best relationship possible with my dcs, a close one based on trust and respect rather than expectation to be a certain way.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 09:19:22

Well quite! We had all the antenatal screening done with DC4 and if my nuchal results had not been good then we would have considered a termination partly due to the affect on the other 3. As it turns out, he does has SN (either GDD or autism) and it will probably affect the other 3 far more than if he had DS. But it doesn't mean we love him less or will fail to take care of him. He's here and he's part of our family.

I imagine it's much the same with gender; you might hope desperately for a girl as we hoped for a healthy baby but once your son is born you still love him with every fibre in the same way we do with DS2.

Cheerymum Thu 11-Jul-13 09:37:55

Well of course you may not, for example, be fortunate to have a good close adult relationship with your son/daughter. They may or may not do all kinds of things, and as a parent, my main "ambition" is for happy confident children/adults rather than any specific achievement. Though of course I would love and support them regardless of their confidence and state of mental health. But the only sure way not to have a close mother son relationship, for example (other than being an uncaring parent) is not to have a son!! Individual differences may be much more important than gender differences, but to deny gender differences altogether is surely daft. Icing on top of a very privileged cake to want to experience parenting both genders, but not the kind of yearning to warrant vilification IMO

RestingUnderTheSun Thu 11-Jul-13 09:53:59

I personally think that, in that case, nurture is stronger than nature.
So the way you are with your dcs and what you expect will have a greater influence than gender.
Saying gender has no influence would be daft.
But saying that gender has a greater influence than how we behave with our dcs (and expectation as to what a mother-son relationship is compared to a mother-daughter) isn't the reality imho.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 10:13:31

But as stated before, I have no ethical issue with couples who already have 2 or more of one sex opting for help to conceive one of the other. It is a different experience and I'm lucky to have 2 of each so why would I want to deny anyone else that experience.

RestingUnderTheSun Thu 11-Jul-13 10:49:49

Having seeing very closely the strain that IVF puts on couples/women, I wouldn't want to go down that route unless desperate tbh. Wo talking about the cost or the health issues and risks associated with it (Again someone close to me nearly died after a third unsuccessful IVF cycle)

And there are a lot experiences that you will 'denied'. My dsis and a few friends have had twins, one of them triplets. I would have loved to have twins. Why should I be denied the experience of caring for twins? seeing them growing up and being so close. Would it be OK for me to ask for IVF just for the sake of trying for a twin?

The more science evolves, the more we can 'control' our environment, how we make babies etc.... We can get to chose a lot of things. But it doesn't mean that choosing is the right thing we can do.
Eg: a friend of mine is from a mixed race background, so is her DH. My friend very looks like from a European descend (not so much her DH). Their two children are more like their dad and do look like they come from a mixed race background. My friend was telling me she would have hoped that one of her children 'that looked like her'. Would it right to use IVF to help her chose the skin colour of her dcs so said dc looks more like her?

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 11:24:40

Resting I don't think it would be particularly wrong of your friend to do that. It wouldn't necessarily be right for them, but I think that's a decision only they can make.

MrButtercat Thu 11-Jul-13 12:06:59

No it wouldn't be right to have IVF in order to have twins.

I have twins and so does my sister.

Multiple births are to be avoided as physically we're not designed to carry them and often babies are born early with the obvious consequences.To go out of your way to choose to have twins would be wrong.

There is no risk of harm to mother or baby if gender is selected.

The two are completely different.

Pyrrah Thu 11-Jul-13 12:25:29

Everyone has dreams and expectations of their children - they don't always work out but nothing wrong with having them in the first place.

No-one has a child for the benefit of the child - you have children due to parental desire driven by biological urges.

Lots of people choose to have children close together "so they can be friends" - some will, but many will not. Perhaps it would be in the 1st child's interest to continue to receive parental attention for longer? Perhaps it's selfish for parents to hope that siblings might entertain each other?

I have a daughter - I got to choose to dress her in little smocked dresses before she was old enough to express an opinion (still wants the dresses just with more frills), I hope she'll go to a super-selective for secondary, I hope she will go to university, I hope she will eventually meet a nice man and get married and have children.

She may turn out to have no interest in academics, be a lesbian, elope and have no children by choice - or be unable to have any. However, there is at least the possibility that I might get to shop for wedding dresses with my daughter - more than likely that isn't going to happen if I'd had a son.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 13:09:22

No harm in wishing all that- I just don't think that it is something that you take the next step for and 'buy' the increased possibility of being able to choose wedding dresses.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 14:58:12

I 'bought' the increased possibility of being able to buy a wedding dress (not something I personally wished for but the point is the same) by paying for IVF. Without IVF my chances of having a daughter were virtually zero. With IVF they became ~ (my chance of conseiving on IVF) x ~.5 x whatever percentage of girls have wedding dresses bought for them. With sex selection I'd double that chance.

In reality I didn't 'buy' my children using IVF, I bought a service that increased my chance of having a child - a child who is mine but whom I do not own. Equally, if using sex-selection I would be buying a service that would increase my chances of having a boy or a girl, who would be my child, but whom I would not own.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 16:51:41

I do wish that people wouldn't bring in the proper use of IVF, as if I disapprove. I think it a wonderful thing to help those who can't produce a baby naturally.
It seems incredibly 'picky' to say that you want a baby but you want it to be a girl because it raises the chances of you choosing a wedding dress and having an adult best friend.
It is also highly unfair because you have to have money to do it. IVF to fit your personal wishes on gender are always going to need paying for.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 17:56:36

I bring it up because I don't think there is a significant ethical difference. You seem to indicate here that the difference between using IVF to have a baby and using IVF to have a girl is that it makes the parents "picky". Which hardly seems like an ethical breach worthy of legal sanction. Using IVF for one thing and not another is only "proper" because it fits in with your idea of what IVF should be for. But the OP was about whether we should have a "proper" use of IVF backed up by law at all - so what is the ethical issue behind this idea of "proper".

As to paying for it - is there anything else we ban because others can't afford it? Is that the ethical issue? Because I'd point out that there aren't many places in the world where you don't have to pay for IVF; even coverage in the UK is patchy.(*) Also there are plenty of other choices parents make that cost money, from having a child in the first place, to formula feeding to holidays, to music lessons, to seperate bedrooms. Some people can't afford to study a post graduate qualification, or a car, others go without computers. Do we ban any of these things? Should we?

*Thankfully several recent breakthroughs indicate costs could come down dramatically soon, so that will be less of a barrier even if people do have to pay.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 18:02:16

There is a huge difference. No one has yet given a convincing list of reasons other than 'I want, I can pay for it, so I should have' - or gender stereotypes. They have the 'perfect' wedding and they then want the 'perfect' family. Luckily a child is a gift-and you are not likely to ever be able to buy your perfect one- you have a unique human for a few years and you love, support and encourage the one you get- not some mythical one that fits your lifestyle as if they are a car or a dog.

comelywenchlywoo Thu 11-Jul-13 19:56:33

Whilst I'm sure many parents have a preference for a particular gender of child, and may even feel extreme disappointment if they don't get what they wanted, the majority will love their child and have a healthy relationship with them.
However, if someone is prepared to go through the hardships that IVF can put a couple through, or have child after child after child in a hope to attain the "right" gender, I believe that person to have issues that should be dealt with by counselling or similar, not by being given what they wanted from the off.

We're not talking about being able to get a boy or girl simply by ticking a box on a form. I just think IVF is too invasive a procedure for someone to undergo to satisfy a longing that has taken more prevalence in their life than it should. Particularly if they could conceive without IVF. IVF is to help couples with fertility issues, NOT MH issues.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 20:34:23

Exactly, comelywenchwoo.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 21:27:26

That's incredibly patronising and without medical support. And the same could equally be argued (indeed frequently was argued) in regard to IVF for fertility issues; that people should learn to accept their condition rather than build their lives around the attempt to concieve and carry to term in an unhealthy obsession.

Thankfully those arguments did not win out and the reality of people getting what they want because they could - that despite the hardship it was worth it on the whole to those who chose to do it and did not produce social harm - has shutdown most opposition.

You have not provided one supported reason of the harm freedom to sex-select would produce. Just supposition and fearmongering over something we haven't tried. Ultimately, banning actions before they have been tried without clear evidence of harm is a lack of faith in humanity, in particular a rejection of pluralism.

ICBINEG Thu 11-Jul-13 21:34:10

I found out my DH thinks sex selection is fine....or more importantly that everyone should be selecting for high IQ....

It may be a long night.

Could someone explain why kids of different genders can't share a bedroom?

We aren't that far in time from a situation where almost all children shared a room with their parents until they left home?

Don't get me wrong, I'd like a room for each child of mine, but if finances don't allow I can't see why a boy and a girl sharing is likely to be more fraught then 2 boys or 2 girls?

ICBINEG Thu 11-Jul-13 21:35:12

emme what about the argument that it promotes sexism?

ICBINEG Thu 11-Jul-13 21:36:57

giving people the right to choose the sex of their baby is directly equivalent to rolling back the clock on gender discrimination and saying it is absolutely find to judge someone on the basis of one characteristic that tells you nothing about their actual personality, abilities or possible contribution to society.

ICBINEG Thu 11-Jul-13 21:37:39

It isn't by the isn't okay to judge people solely on their gender.

It really really isn't.

comelywenchlywoo Thu 11-Jul-13 21:47:55

But I'm not arguing that IVF shouldn't be used and that those with fertility problems should accept their condition. IVF levels the playingfield and can cure a medical issue, providing the chance of a family for many. Sex-selection skews the playingfield, allowing the indulgance of a preference for the few.

Sex-selection allows individuals to make a choice. IMO an individuals right to choice does not trump all. Perhaps I will be proved to be a dinosaur and legislation will move on.
However, I think it's unfair to suggest that because my argument could be extrapolated in "x" direction it nullifies what I'm actually arguing. That's not reasoned debate.

What do you mean by "without medical support"? Do you mean that IVF isn't invasive, or that people who go to extreme lengths to obtain a particular gender of child, perhaps to the detriment of their own good or that of their children, are not necessarily suffering from a MH issue.

comelywenchlywoo Thu 11-Jul-13 21:50:09

sorry ICBINEG I took too long writing. My post was directed to Emmeline

MrButtercat Thu 11-Jul-13 21:54:38

Ice that is rubbish.Nobody is judging but wanting just the same as people who can afford to have 2,3 or 4 kids of the same sex in a attempt to have both.

The negative presumptions of parents who have no more dreams or hopes than any other parent is getting tedious tbf.

comelywenchlywoo Thu 11-Jul-13 21:56:10

Emmeline If it was the latter, I take your point. The person choosing to sex-select may not be mentally unwell, but that still doesn't make it right. (see ICBINEG's post above)

MrButtercat Thu 11-Jul-13 21:57:18

Comely using a simple procedure such as IVF doesn't have a detrimental effect on any child or parent.How ridiculous.

Parent gets what she/ he hoped for like countless of other parents every second,chid gets a sibling.Big deal!

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 22:00:56

I simply don't thing the 'upsetting nature's applecart' argument washes here unless you disagree with all IVF.

I do think there's a valid argument to saying that if a man's sperm is less that 5% female and even they are rubbish swimmers then maybe nature is saying he should be having boys. But it's no different from saying that those men who have a low sperm count and poor mobility for whom ICSI is their only chance of fatherhood should not have assisted conception as nature intended them to be childless.

Solari Thu 11-Jul-13 22:01:00

I think children of opposite sex sharing rooms depends on the age of the children.

I can only speak of my own experience growing up (we all shared a room for periods of time due to necessity). I still clearly remember "experimenting" with each other, even though we were all pre-pubescent.

I wish it had been an innocent one-off (and I do believe it started innocently), but it became a favourite 'game' for my brother, which continued until he eventually raped my younger sister.

Now, it could be argued the same thing could happen with all boys sharing a room, or all girls. But I do think having the same 'bits' results in a lot less curiousity and experimenting. But admittedly, I am swayed by how badly it all turned out in my own family.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 22:07:45

comely By without medical support I meant your inference that all people who would use sex-selection had mental health issues.

I agree with you that the right to choose does not trump all. Where there is evidence of harm to society or others, laws should curb behaviour. My point is that you haven't shown any evidence of harm. I wasn't arguing that your argument could be extrapolated in the same way as the argument against IVF. I'm saying it is pretty much the same argument - i.e. You don't think people ought to be able to do that, despite the fact it there's no evidence it would harm society or others. It's a fear based argument.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 22:23:18

ICBINEG I think I said upthread I don't see the argument that it promotes sexism. I suspect (though I'm not sure) that if we can make society less sexist then we would see a drop in sex-selection. But I don't think banning sex-selection makes society less sexist - certainly the inability to choose the sex of a child throughout human history has not been synonymous with sex equality.

People will have sexist ideas about girls and boys whether or not they get to choose the sex. And they will treat their children in accordance with those ideas whether or not they get to chose the sex.

In the few cases where someone is so desperate for a child of a particular sex that they will keep having children they don't want until they get that sex, I would hope sex-selection would lead to fewer unwanted children and fewer children treated badly because they were not the "right" sex for their parent. In that sense it might, possibly, lead to less sexism - in that fewer children would be subjected to an abusive childhood based on their sex.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 22:23:56

I can't see it ever be allowed.
Of course it is very, very different from helping the childless and you wouldn't say they should just accept it.

I think that the number of bedrooms is a red herring- you will have to have lots of money to be able to afford the treatment.

A healthy, child is the greatest gift you can have- I find it extraordinary that instead of being thrilled you are moaning that it wasn't what you wanted, you will never get to buy them pretty dresses and you won't have the adult relationship that you wanted.

If I was the child that my parent had paid to give them what they thought they wanted, my act of rebellion would be to make sure that I didn't fit their imagination!

Love for your child should be unconditional- to starting by being conditional on the gender.

You really can't tell what you will get. One of my friends has a DD who just bought a new pair of jeans and went to a registry office with her DP and DD- she didn't tell anyone until afterwards and wouldn't even have a party.
Another friend had a future DIL whose mother had died- it was my friend who helped her choose a dress etc.
You really are doomed to disappointment if you have expectations. Just enjoy life with whatever you get and anything extra is a bonus.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 22:26:06

If children are going to have an abusive childhood because they were the 'wrong' gender the argument isn't that they should get their own way- the argument is whether they should have children at all.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Jul-13 22:33:59

It's not very, very different. People did say women should just accept infertility, several religions still do.

And while I highly doubt that most people who would use sex selection would moan or fail to love a child they had naturally that was of the opposite sex, for those that would, far better they don't have a young life they don't really want to guide and nurture. You can't stop the parents having them.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 22:34:02

I do love all my children deeply but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased to be raising both sons and daughters. And whilst I totally agree that they are all individual and different due to their own personalities, I would again be lying if I said that it wasn't different parenting girls from boys. Maybe neither of my girls will marry or have kids or want me to be involved but at least by having daughters there's at least a chance of that. It simply isn't true that theres just as much involvement when you're a mil or a paternal grandmother even if individual posters have individual anecdotes that contradict that.

MrButtercat Thu 11-Jul-13 22:38:39

Love is conditional on gender.


Billions of women hope for a sex prior to birth and love their children regardless.

My sister was hoping for 1 girl and got twin boys.She utterly adores and dotes on her boys.

I don't know a single mother who didn't have a secret hope before having their dc and I also don't know a single mother who didn't fall in love with their dc the minute try clapped their eyes on them.

There are some really silly posts on here.

comelywenchlywoo Thu 11-Jul-13 22:40:04

I say amen to that Ma'am exoticfuits I'll bow out of the discussion now.

MrButtercat Thu 11-Jul-13 22:42:04

Abusive childhood- what.utter.shite.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 22:43:39

Of course there is as much involvement- perhaps not when they are babies and have no say- it after that the DC makes their own relationship with grandparents. It is ridiculous to think that my relationship with my grandmother depends on my mother- once I am old enough to choose. You may hate your MIL but your Dd may love her to bits!

If it was the same Emmeline you would be allowed to do it- you can't in the UK and I can't see that it will change.

People can have so much choice it hits them hard to find they can't order the family if their choice.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 22:45:39

I will bow out too.

It is all pointless - you can't have IVF to choose gender - and reading views on here you can see why it is set to stay that way!

MrButtercat Thu 11-Jul-13 22:51:49

I don't think it's set to stay that way,nobody has given a valid argument against it,other countries allow it,people will simply travel abroad.It is pointless not to allow it.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 22:53:58

I don't dislike my mil. Neither my mother nor my mil are alive so my children do not have any grandmothers.

I do know that I was closer to my maternal GM not because I preferred her but because she was a constant presence in my former years whereas we saw my paternal GM only z few times a year. I think this is actually fairly common.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 22:58:16

If it happens you can say 'told you so' at that point- I am confident it won't. There is not a single argument for it except 'me, me, me, I want' or gender stereotyping. If I start any thread about special treatment for boys I am shouted down and told there is no difference - clearly there is.

Anyway will have to hide thread and not get tempted to waste more time on things you will not be allowed to do.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 22:59:12

I saw less of my paternal grandmother- I was much more comfortable with her.

MrButtercat Thu 11-Jul-13 23:06:07

Soooo because you say it shouldn't happen it won't.hmm

There has already been a review in favour of it published.

Won't be the last.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Jul-13 06:07:48

Not that I would characterise it quite as 'me, me, me, I want', but that is what drives virtually all our behaviour. We do things because we want to. We want to go on holiday, we want to have sex, we want children, we want to help others, we want to keep things for ourselves, we want to know what this or that is like...

It's hardly the most damning of insults to say people want things and act on those yearnings. And it's an odd reason for saying people shouldn't have something. As though curiosity is sinful and the desire to direct one's life is perverted.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 13:51:57

nah still staggered by the idea that it would somehow work to have legislation in place that says if it is in the work place you aren't allowed to discriminate based on gender, race, disability etc. and then if it is in the realm of procreation then yeah fine go ahead, be as discriminatory as you like...

are people also keen on selecting embryos for skin colour etc? Or is this a case where every gets that you don't judge the quality of a person (or embryo) on their skin colour, but secretly think you really can judge the quality of a person on their gender?

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 13:53:18

emme a direct question. Do you believe it is okay for someone hiring a colleague to only consider male applicants because they think they work better with men?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Jul-13 14:08:04

Only in some very restricted instances and I think the harm to society is so pronounced that laws against the practice are justified - even if they can only be partially enforced.

Could you answer a similar question - do you think it should be against the law to reject someone as a friend or lover because of their sex?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Jul-13 14:19:17

While we're at it ICBINEG do you think it's OK to discriminate against someone with a genetic illness or disability in the work place?

MaryKatharine Fri 12-Jul-13 15:19:04

This has nothing to do with sex discrimination whatsoever. Many women want a daughter to feel that bond, that closeness to another female. It's not about valuing women over men, it's about emotions.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 18:35:41

that closeness to another female is far from guaranteed and does not occur in a lot of families. It is to do with the individuals involved and it not solely determined by the X or Y chromosome.

So we come back to the fact that it is discrimination to select based only on one facet of a person that may not at all influence the outcome you desire.

If two people can do the work equally well then it is morally wrong to discriminate on gender, race, disability.

You cannot tell by looking, which of your embryos you would form the closest bond with...or would be most into fashion or would contribute most to your future happiness. To arbitrarily decide the female ones are more likely to provide some attribute or other is sex discrimination pure and simple.

Similarly with skin colour. You can't tell what the person will be like from the skin colour genes.

With disabilities, and particularly extremely life limiting ones, you can tell something very important about the difference in potential quality of life of embryos. IMO that makes screening for severe disability a different thing to screening by gender. After all being male/female isn't either a disease or a disability and does not limit you in your life choices at all.

bebemad Fri 12-Jul-13 18:47:21

You CANNOT select gender through IVF you select gender though PGD.

Cheerymum Fri 12-Jul-13 19:07:43

MaryKatherine has been the only voice on here with a mixed family of boys and girls who has acknowledged that this is something she values - and that parenting boys and girls has some differences, which are to be celebrated.

I dont think there have been any strong arguments against IVF for sex selection. Just either "I don't want/need it" or "it makes me feel icky" therefore it should be banned ... The sexism argument is rubbish because (in the UK at least) there is nothing to suggest on sex would be significantly more often "chosen" than the other, and whilst a few have insisted that parents who would choose it would therefore gender stereotype their kids, fail to value kids of the other sex, or parent poorly in other ways, those are fairly unpleasant, unsubstantiated presumptions.
The fact few people want it doesnt de facto mean they shouldnt be allowed it "just because they want it" and if they are prepared to make an informed choice about it doesn't make them mentally ill FGS.

Emmeline's arguments about the lack of harm caused are persuasive to me. We may yet consider it in our family, or we may decide it isn't worth the risks and hardships, but the lack of strong argument from those against it on here has actually pushed me further towards the liberal position. And I think Buttercat is right, the change in law will probably come.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Fri 12-Jul-13 19:39:55

Finally cherrymum (and buttercat!) - a sensible, well written, balanced post. Thank you.

Unlike icbineg, who keeps on and on with her social policy standpoint about gender discrimination??? WTF - if I have 3 children of one gender and deeply desire a baby of the opposite gender (for emotional reasons that can not be explained "in a list" - I wouldn't make a list about why I love my three very different boys, so why would I write a list about "why" and "how" I would love a daughter?). There is NO discrimination as I would like to have BOTH genders in my family.

None of my three boys would ever feel any less loved or rejected if I had a daughter, because as any mother knows, you love ALL your children very deeply and unconditionally (well I do anyway). If we were lucky enough to have a daughter, my boys would be blessed to have a sister, and that would be all they need to know. NO REJECTION in this hous - it is such an absurd argument.

Of my 60% of friends who parent both boys and girls they ALL say the parenting is different - I find it wierd that on Mumsnet, those mothers seem to find no difference in nurturing their sons/daughters? I simply don't believe you.

And I am yet to meet a mother IRL (young and old) who parents all boys who doesn't express some sadness at not having a daughter. However, no one expresses disappointment in the children that they have already - for the record!

Most IVF users pay privately in this country and I understand that the high cost funds the NHS. For the small minority of women like myself, why not allow PGD and help boost the NHS and ongoing research further?

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 19:55:13

oh I as long as a roughly equal number of people will discriminate against you for being female as will discriminate against you for being male, then no discrimination has taken place?

Do locate a brain cell from somewhere...please.

It is wrong to judge a person based on gender. It is equally wrong to judge the suitability of an embryo for your family based on gender. Children are individuals and will not fit into your designer family no matter what you do.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 19:56:46

anyone who automatically parents a DD different to DS, or expects there will be difference before the baby is born should have been prevented from having kids in the first place.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:00:40

oh and to choc specifically, you have no reason to believe whatsoever that having a girl will fill the perceived hole in your family any more than another DS would. Girls are individuals, boys are individuals. unless you are nappy changing or have an unhealthy fascination with observing the development of specifically female genitalia then there is no difference in a family of individuals that are all male and a family of individuals of different genders.

Gender does not define a child.

ChocolateBiscuitCake Fri 12-Jul-13 20:02:15

But ICNIBEG - you only have one child so you are talking out of your arse...

5madthings Fri 12-Jul-13 20:39:19

What does the amount of children ice has to do with anything.

I have five, four of the same gender. Our family was complete and that was fine and our fifth was a bonus baby who happens to be the opposite gender. It hasnt changed my parenting, it didnt magically make life complete and i never felt like i was missing out when o only had four of the same gender.

It is gender discrimination at its most basic. And it gives the message that gender discrimination is ok.... That is not a message we should be wanting to send out.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:51:52

So because I have only one child I am incapable of reading the literature on this issue?

The vast majority of difference we experience based on gender is nurture not nature. If you don't set out to treat girls and boys differently then they wouldn't be noticeably different at all.

The actual research (you know as opposed to what some random person says about themselves on the internet) shows that there is far more variation between individuals of either sex than there is difference between an average boy and an average girl. Or in other words if your children are different it is mostly because they are individuals, not because of their gender.

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:54:55

thanks 5mad, how are you doing by the way? Presumably you are really poor at the moment on account of having to buy a whole new set of toys and clothes as well as redecorating significant portions of your house in a pink fairy theme?

ICBINEG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:57:38

you know sometimes I think I must live in a different world...because I know things that aren't taken from my own personal experience! I read books and papers and hence learn things that other people know. Is this some sort of black magic? Not only that but I am willing to disregard my own personal experience when the weight of scientific evidence indicates that I was wrong in my assumptions.....

Do a lot of people on MN think things can only be true if they personally have witnessed it, and conversely that if they have witnessed something then it must be true?

5madthings Fri 12-Jul-13 21:11:08

Ha ha we already had 'girl' toys and links and purple etc, along with lots of other col ours etc. Dd is happiest in a dinosaur T-shirt, anything to do with dinosaurs and she loves it. Ds3 still loves pink, purple and all things sparkly.

No poorer, still tired and desperate for school holidays to begin, feeling a proud mummy today as the boys got awesome school reports, ds2 rocked his SATs (not that I care about SATs but he is thrilled) and i am debating posting on fb, about how fab my children are, of course that is ntl the done thing according to mnet, like I give a shit! grin

ChocolateBiscuitCake Fri 12-Jul-13 21:11:11

Because she keeps theorising on how to parent more than one child without any clue of how this feels in real life - it is not something that can be theorised about. How on earth does she know that parenting a boy and a girl is exactly the same when she doesn't have a son? You simply can't put yourself in someone else's shoes until you experience it for yourself, especially something that is this emotive and personal. It ignorant and arrogant. It is like me telling someone who has lost a parent that the pain will get better with time - how on earth would I know - thankfully at the moment I wouldn't.
This is not about gender steryotypes - it is something that can't really be explained - but unless you have experienced it you won't and will never understand.

And just remind me, what message are you giving to whom about gender discrimination?? Because I just don't see the "discrimination" - this is not a job interview...

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Jul-13 22:37:02

You didn't answer my questions ICBINEG. Should it be illegal to have a preference when it comes to a lover or friendship? And is it OK to discriminate for a job on the basis of disability?

Cheerymum Sat 13-Jul-13 06:44:23

The point is the only person who could conceivably (no pun intended!) be being discriminated against doesn't actually exist . This is a totally different situation to a job being denied to an existing person who is the best candidate on the basis of gender.

Whothefuckfarted Sat 13-Jul-13 08:23:28

It's a slippery fucking slope. That's why.

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