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Hospital refusing to tell gender but will at a separate gender scan for a fee!

(68 Posts)
thecakeisalie Sat 09-Nov-13 20:44:18

We had our 20 week scan for dc3 yesterday and found our hospital have a non disclosure policy for gender. Fair enough some hospitals don't for various reasons including moral ones - however to then be told they do gender scans at a cost of £50 seems like a bit of con! So they will sell out on their 'morals' for a fee!

I'm not bothered about needing to find out privately as I know the nhs are scanning for health reasons, are limited on time and so on. So is it just us who think it's out of order for them to be charging?!

Julietee Mon 11-Nov-13 16:59:54

TheSpork What are the examinations and observations that would/ should normally take place? I'm very interested in this.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Mon 11-Nov-13 13:44:31

That is a malformation that is addressed in the link from the British Medical Journal that I already provided: routine scans are useful in finding malformation, but the false positive rate needs to be communicated for informed consent. Scans can help individuals and improving the way individuals are targeted would be of greater help to families than routine scans for all women regardless of medical history, background, or risk markers.

Seriously, I only brought it up because someone said that it was extreme ideology to think that routine scans didn't improve outcomes, I was showing that the British Medical Journal and most international health care follow this evidence, bringing up individual circumstances (that have nothing to do with finding out what genitals a baby has) doesn't change the data.

Populations may be made up of individuals, but in a study of the population, it the numbers as a whole, not individual circumstances that are being looked at to determine the best policy for the population as a whole. It may help one person and harm another, which individual should we look at? That's why the effect over a larger population is important and the recognition that this information be stated for informed consent.

Maybe a better look at the genitals - regardless of whether parents are told - would help in the recognition and awareness of intersex people and genital abnormalities and could be argued for as could the ethics of charging to get around a policy meant to protect women from domestic violence.

Personally, I think that routine scan have now become a normally expected part of maternal care that any thought of removing them would cause a backlash that would lead to people trying to get scans of other reasons which would have more of a cost and currently, midwife care is so underfunded that scans are required to make up for the examinations and observations that would normally take place and be better for women and their babies. They are a catch-all for a broken system even when they do not improve things for the population as a whole. Scans are expensive but cheaper than a well running and well funded midwife system.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 11-Nov-13 12:32:26

IMO, gender isn't an important part of the anomaly scan generally. Back when I had DD you HAD to pay privately to find out. Nowadays they will tell you, but have a declaration up saying it could be incorrect. I think this is the main reason why hospitals were always reluctant to say. Being sued for the cost of a complete pink nursery when you deliver a boy must be a nuisance!
Hospitals are under funded. They always need something. If charging £50 to provide a non essential service helps raise funds, then why not.

Stevie77 Mon 11-Nov-13 12:03:47

Erm, to all those saying it's an anomaly scan and that's what the hospital should focus on. Anomalies in the genitals are just as important, so the fact they skip that part of the body is rather negligent as far as I'm concerned.

thecakeisalie Mon 11-Nov-13 11:58:58

The population is made up of individuals and individual circumstances affect figures as a whole. It is stated it doesn't influence the live birth stats but what about post natal care for newborns with additional needs? Knowing a baby has heart problems for example can be addressed once born. So they may be born alive but not knowing they had a health problem may mean they died shortly after delivery without the extra care. I really can't see why scans would take place at great cost to the nhs if there was no benefit to mother, baby or the care offered by HCP's.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Mon 11-Nov-13 11:30:42

Except for when they found two heartbeats during normal antenatal checks, which is how it is done in areas where the 12 week dating scan is not routine (it was not routine when I had my first two and it is not routine in many places) and before scans were routine at all.

The meta-analysis is there, I already linked the British Medical Journal where the basic information is there for all to see, and it says as I have said repeatedly that this is for the population as a whole, NOT individuals. I'm not sure why you keep trying to argue your individual circumstances with me when I keep repeatedly saying that the study is about how routine scans do not increase number of live births or perinatal mortality in a population - that has nothing to do with your individual case of twins. I was simply defending someone who was being told they had an extreme ideology, when really they were discussing current medical knowledge for populations as a whole as we currently understand and analyse it which should be common knowledge to allow proper informed consent but is rarely put out there.

SoonToBeSix Mon 11-Nov-13 10:26:11

The sport my i know fortnightly scan are not routine. My point was had I not had a routine scan at 12 or 20 weeks I would never have known I was carrying twins.

SoonToBeSix Mon 11-Nov-13 10:25:39

The sport my i know fortnightly scan are not routine. My point was had I not had a routine scan at 12 or 20 weeks I would never have known I was carrying twins.

OhGood Mon 11-Nov-13 10:03:26

Don't they check genitals and gender as part of this 20-week scan anyway?

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Mon 11-Nov-13 09:58:31

No they aren't, soontobesix, routine scans don't happen fortnightly - every woman is not given fortnightly scans routinely as part of pregnancy regardless of their background, pregnancy, or medical history, you are being given the scans specifically because of risks that twins raise. As I and the medical journal I linked to said, it is routine scans given to every woman do not improve rates over the whole population, NOT that they don't improve things for INDIVIDUAL women with circumstances such as twins, weight loss, and other major risk factors.

cant understand the time argument.
it took my sonographer all of about ten seconds to tell us the gender so that's a non-issue imo.

BranchingOut Sun 10-Nov-13 23:31:22

I know that there are some gender-related conditions, and sorry to hear that affected you Naturegirl. I meant that there are no medical reasons around knowing the gender that apply to the population at large eg. if, for example, boys were harder to deliver vaginally then of course everyone should be told the gender, rather like you are told your blood group or Rh status.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 10-Nov-13 22:43:37

Wow, not heard of that! My 20 week scan was very quick, they did tell us the gender (we wanted to know), but as far as I could tell, it was very quick (30 secs or less). In some cases it may take longer, but I think after a couple of minutes, if it's not clear, they call it a day. That seems fair enough.

I think it's reasonable for the sonographer to tell parents (if they want to know) if they can tell easily.

Perhaps they charge because they know how much many can be made from private scans. I'm amazed how many people pay for extra scans for no particular reason.

SoonToBeSix Sun 10-Nov-13 21:42:38

But my scans are routine they have found no evidence of twin to twin so far.

Pearlsaplenty Sun 10-Nov-13 20:34:08

So maybe the sonographer should just do the scan and make no special allowances for hiding the sex or finding out. Parents have to sign a form saying they are aware that they may discover the sex inadvertently during the scan and that the sonographer is under no obligation to reveal the sex.
The scan happens and it's up to the parents to work it out.

Can I also say that there is some really interesting information on the Internet and youtube about the heartbeat and gender. Boys are trains and girls are galloping horses. At around 16 weeks I correctly guessed ds sex and at the scan if the sonographer hadn't avoided the genital area like she did I would have been able to confirm the gender for myself. (My hospital had a policy of avoiding the genital area and then only at the end parents were asked if they wanted to know and only then did the sonographer reveal, although they did say it may not be possible to confirm, the gender may be incorrectly determined etc etc)

NancyOsbourne Sun 10-Nov-13 20:26:22

I think if the sonographer has seen during the scan and parents wish to know then they should be told. However time should not be wasted looking specifically for the sex of the baby IMO.

With both DD's it was seen during the scan and we were told. I'm now 29 weeks and again we were told as seen during scan - however we also have a medical issue with this baby which has different severity based on sex so they would have specifically looked anyway.

Should they charge? What's the harm if they have to spend extra time looking for pure curiosity reasons. I would have paid.

Pearlsaplenty Sun 10-Nov-13 20:13:11

This is an interesting discussion.

If the reason is not to waste time seeking out the sex because that is not the purpose of the scan then fair enough, parents should have to pay for a gender scan.

But does this mean the sonographer will continue to respect the wishes of parents who want a surprise? I know when this is the case they avoid the genital area (particularly if it's a boy)because you could also argue that going out of their way to avoid this area is also unnecessary/waste of time etc.

BroodyTroody Sun 10-Nov-13 19:45:26

The hospital 20mins in one direction from my home town tells you the gender as routine, and this is the hosp I am under, but the hospital 20mins in the opposite direction has a non disclosure policy. I haven't heard of the hospital charging to do a gender scan though.

We are paying for an early gender scan at around 16 weeks, this way we can be doubly sure that the sonographer is right! Ours is £45.

OddBoots Sun 10-Nov-13 19:37:21

They are trialling telling women at our local hospital but a friend who works in the department has said that it is meaning the scans take longer so they are able to do fewer a day. It's all very well to say that if they see it then they see it and if they don't then they don't but when emotions are running high it's not that simple.

If the £50 means the hospital can get another scanner and pay another sonographer so it doesn't mean longer waits then I can see why they do it.

thecakeisalie Sun 10-Nov-13 19:21:32

That's exactly the case Mintyy and the part I am annoyed about. Not finding out the gender because the hospital have a non disclosure policy is fair enough and on its own wouldn't bother me. To be told they will for a fee to me undermines the reasons for a non disclosure policy in the first place.

The money feels like a lot to us right now which has probably influenced how we feel about it. I am fully aware its not the end of the world not to know the gender but I personally prefer knowing and don't appreciate the nhs using this preference to their advantage.

All this talk of the £50 creating a barrier against domestic violence/abortions due to gender selection makes no sense - only people unable to afford the extra money would find this a barrier. So are only poorer people likely to be violent or abort a baby of the 'wrong' gender? The nhs is selling out either have a non disclosure policy or don't but don't take money for social scans.

Typing on my phone so I feel my points are maybe getting lost in translation but just wanted to reply as I have been reading the thread.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 10-Nov-13 19:15:12

I specifically said and italic the word routine. The article I linked to used the word routine repeatedly because that's what it is studying and what hazchem was talking about and being called 'extreme' over when actually it is internationally accepted standard even if it information given for proper informed consent isn't usually given.

Routine ultrasounds - as in doing the same scans for every woman regardless of outstanding risk factors like twins or problematic health histories - does not improve over the population as a whole for increased number of live births or perinatal mortality. It isn't suggesting that it isn't going to improve situation for an individual with particular risk factors. This of particular concern in America which often does a lot more scans and has a far worse outcomes even with them, but they as usual ignore WHO findings in favour of squeezing more money out of vulnerable women.

randdom Sun 10-Nov-13 18:59:31

Soontobesix my understanding is that the literature being talked about is mentioning routine screening scans. Once a problem that need monitoring is found that is a different issue.

However personally there are a few situations where things that are picked up on routine scans may change management prior to birth e.g. Placenta previa and multiple pregnancies but these would only make up a small number of cases.

I think that charging for gender scans in this situation is unfair. If the gender is easily found then I think the parents should he told. However I don't think the sonographer should be expected to go out of their way to find out. I also think that while finding this information out us desirable to a good number of people in most cases it isn't essential. Unfortunately hospitals are having to charge for more things to make money as the cuts that are being made at the moment are causing a lot of damage hmm

Mintyy Sun 10-Nov-13 18:44:47

Obviously theSpork isn't suggesting that SoonToBeSix!!

I think some people are missing the point on this thread that some trusts have a policy not to disclose the gender, even if it can be seen on the routine scan and even if the parents wish to know. But they will disclose it if you bung them an extra fee.

I believe this is what has happened to the op, and I think it is disgraceful.

SoonToBeSix Sun 10-Nov-13 18:37:56

Ok theSpork do you suggest I dont bother going to my fortnightly scan to check for twin to twin syndrome.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 10-Nov-13 17:53:22

Actually, repeated studies have shown that routine scans do NOT improve outcomes of increased live births or perinatal morbidity over the population. Finding malformations before birth is something that it does increase and can be useful but that does have a false positive rate that needs to be observed and that this information should be given as part of informed consent. Now there may be bias in repeated meta-analysis of the topic, but it is the current consensus of major health organization around the world based on the current evidence even when it can seem counter intuitive and is not an extreme ideology, it's been fairly conservatively analysed.

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