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Hospital refusing to tell gender but will at a separate gender scan for a fee!(68 Posts)
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?!
Wow I think that is absolutely shocking!!
That's shocking!! it is a blooming con.. £50 as well?
As a sonographer I understand why they won't sex them. I wish we didn't.. A few of the consultants are trying to stop it being part of the scan if parents want to know.
I think it's more than £50 at a local private company here for a gender scan..
At another hospital close to me their sonographers are unable to tell but can suggest that if they want to know they can pay the dr to scan privately and he will reveal the gender for them..
It's all being turned into a money making scheme sadly.
So glad it's not just us that were shocked at this. I understand non disclosure policies are there for a reason but to then sell out for a fee seems bang out order! Nhs aren't meant to be trying to make money out of us. My Mum has offered to pay for a private scan as a Christmas present which is good otherwise we would end up having to have a surprise as we can't afford one ourselves.
Is it true they won't tell you in case you terminate the pregnancy on the basis of gender? Is that... like... a thing?
Or is it more that sonographers don't have time to do an extra non-medical check?
worley - I know what you mean and I know the purpose for of the scan is to monitor the health of our baby. I just can't understand the trust deciding to implement a money making scheme.
There's local companies offering a basic gender scan for £45 so I'm afraid the nhs are not any cheaper.
FWIW the NHS were more than happy to tell us the gender. I think they could at least have a quick peek and let you know if they can't see properly!
I think it's shocking.
What are the reasons for non-disclosure policy, out of interest? Selective abortions? But Surely if somebody is determined to get rid of a child of specific gender they would have a private scan anyway?
Our hospital were great. I was scanned 12 times (twins) and I asked 3 different sonographers the babies sex and they had no problem with this.
Your hospital is being cheeky.
you know, I thought it was pretty unreasonable when I first read the post...
but actually, it IS a bit of a waste of their time. The scan is an anomaly scan and should focus on that.
if you want them to spend time finding out the sex, then I guess you should have to pay for their time?
I think complaining that you'd have to have a surprise because you couldn't afford it yourself is a bit weird tbh. People always used to have to have surprises, it's not the end of the world!
Just to clarify I do not expect them to do extra checks simply for the purpose of checking gender. I do find it odd that even if they spot the gender they will not disclose due to moral concerns but will for a fee.
I was mainly filling in as opposed to complaining that as we wouldn't be able to afford a private scan it makes £50 seem like a lot to us right now.
But they can't tell some people and not others, jyst because they happen to notice on some scans.
I think too much is being made of the 'extra time and work' it takes to sex the baby. Unless the baby is in the wrong position it seems fairly straightforward to do- or maybe I've just seen very good sonographers.
Our hospital says if they see the gender they will tell you but they won't waste time looking for it. A private gender scan around here is £80 so sounds OK to me! I think we are going to get one if the sonographer can't see anything on Friday - that will be our second attempt to complete the anomaly scan as last week the baby was unco-operative. DS is convinced he wants a sister and I want to get him used to the idea if it is going to be a boy.
I'm going to go against the grain and say I think it's totally fine for a hospital to refuse to provide an unnecessary service for free. Have they said it was for moral reasons? Or just we don't do that as part of the medical scan if you want it you need to pay?
Although personally I'm against routine scans without a medical indication as I think it removes women agency over their pregnant body.
Im a bit torn - on one hand i think its a great idea if the money raised is reinvested back into the maternity services. On the other hand i don't agree with privatisation of the NHS so don't think it should need to raised money this way and I wouldn't want it to lead to charging for other things. As it is, i think its a good idea as long as it doesn't lead to charging for too many other 'extras' that are really essentials.
Arguably unnecessary services at my hospital for pregnant/labouring women:
- mood lighting in midwife led unit
- essential oils
- CD players
Do we really need to go down that route? It's usually possible to tell the sex and people often want to know for sensible reasons - mine was partly that DSS1 can be a bit obsessive (SEN) and by visualising all the details he could about the baby, the calmer he was.
I think it is fine.
We chose not to find out the sex and while we might next time I know the hospital don't like it. They have said it takes the focus away from the real meaning of the scan and that it can extend the duration (if it isn't seen as part of the course and the sonographer needs to hunt it out). They want to get people out of the mindset that the 20 week scan is the one where you find out the sex.
They charge for the photos too. I think that is quite common.
Waitingforme I think those things would come under pain relief options for women so as valid as having access to an epidural.
I'd think having a child in the family with SEN could/would/should be considered a medical indication. It would come up as part of full antenatal care.
I guess the biggest thing is I think at the moment women don't have a choice to opt out of antenatal testing because they aren't then allowed to continue with standard antenatal care. Partly because having the scan is so normalized as part of pregnancy when it's really a medical test that needs to be used with other clinical work.
I totally shouldn't have clicked on this thread I've just finished an essay on antenatal choices so it's all going round and round in my head still.
My nearest hospital do the same thing. The reason they give is that the 20w anomaly scan is medical and not for entertainment (you can only have one person with you) - but finding out the gender is 'social' and they'll do a separate scan at 24 weeks costing £50. You can bring the whole family to it and the photos are part of the fee.
Is that true hazchen ? I have my booking appt this week and have been given an opt in/out form for all the testing including scans. I have no intention of refusing 20 week scan but it seems optional in our system.
I understand that the reason for not disclosing gender is not because of risk of subsequent abortion, but because of the risk of subsequent increase in domestic violence against the mother as she is not carrying a child of the father's preferred sex.
Obviously the father will find out eventually, but in theory the mother and unborn child are a little safe until the end of the pregnancy.
So I am totally supportive of not revealing gender (and as the NHS is charging quite a lot less than a private scan I have no objections to the charge - they are not giving up morals for a fee, they are placing a barrier to try to help women at risk of domestic violence)
Bakingtins yes the opt in/opt out stuff appeared to be a choice to opt out but for my treatment was very different and didn't take into account my reasons for not wanting scans. EG they wouldn't provide information that I would act on and that I was not in a risk group for any of them. I was asked about placenta priva(sp) but most women who have a low lying placenta at 20 weeks don't have one at 36 weeks. I know one anecdote is not date but I don't know anyone else who opted out.
Oh and even WHO doesn't recommend there routine use as it doesn't improve antenatal care or outcome significantly.
I agree - why should we get extras all the time for free, we need to start paying for the nice bits we don't need to have but take up time and money.
In fact I would like every treatment we get on the NHS price tagged so that everyone can see how much it costs - blood tests cost, doctors appointments, drug costs. Then perhaps people would stop and think about the cost they get through their taxes and not just take it for granted what we get for free through out taxes
I think it is fair enough to not tell the gender - I can't think of any medical reason why it might be necessary to know. I can also see that sonographers might be put under pressure to hunt around, wait for the baby to move etc if it is an expectation. Sonographers are dealing with the public and that may include bullying/abusive individuals, so the back up of a hospital policy could be helpful.
Having said that, I do see that for many families it can help with bonding to the new baby prior to the birth. I can't get too bothered about the £50 charge for those who want to pay, as it is similar to private scan costs. This bothers me less than Bounty plying their intrusive wares on the maternity ward when all mothers are vulnerable.
I was asked at me very first midwife appt with each of my 4 pregnancies whether I would want any screening, inc blood tests and scans. they recommend you dobut Ypu certainly are allowed to opt out if you want to.
I was also going to find out the sex of this baby because my son has autism and will need lots of preparing however I'm still in two minds because they can get it won't do in not going to rely on it or prepare him too much for the gender
Argj bad typos ( on phone)
*because they can get it wrong, so
Branchingout sometimes there is a medical reason meaning it is necessary to be told the sex. I didn't want to find out but had to be told to be given a diagnosis of a sex specific problem.
Hazchem of course scans can improve outcomes , what a ridiculous statement.
Of course scans can improve outcomes.
To deny this is ideological in the extreme.
This is policy at our two local hospitals as well.
Unfortunately this is going to get more common in all parts of the NHS. It has essentially been privatised with recent legislation and they now have no obligation to provide services as would think of as very basic. Charging for anything and everything not deemed as totally essential is going to become commonplace, and we will very shortly have a 2 tier system where those that can pay get better care than those who can't.
how can it be better "care" if those things are non-essential?
knowing the sex of your baby before it is born is not better care.
But it's not really an 'extra check' that takes a lot of time. The anomaly scan is very thorough and with most babies, the sonographer will clearly see what gender the child is as part of the scan. If they can't, they can't, and yes it would be unreasonable to ask them to spend ages hunting around, but to pretend that cerifying the sex takes aaaages and will add to workload is simply untrue.
To me this looks like a money making scheme on the part of the hospital and I am shocked by it.
This private clinic http://www.ultrasound-direct.com/mobile/pregscanlist.aspx does gender scan for £39. We had one as the Nhs sonographer couldn't tell due to baby's position at 20wk scan.
It is a difficult and personal choice around finding out gender, and to have that choice taken away from you imo is wrong.
I can argue both sides equally, but ultimately those who need to know for whatever reason will be the ones paying if they need to, because they wont see it as a choice.
I need to know, but not for the reasons most people would think, and its not something i can discuss with many people.
it has become part of popular maternity culture now and i dont think it should be taken away. as in you can see it in all the literature etc. around pregnancy in every site.
if people NEED to know for a medical reason then I am certain they will not be charged to find out.
no-one else NEEDS to know. they may want to know, but that is entirely different. Women have managed to get by for thousands and thousands of years without knowing the gender of their baby before birth. it's really not that much of a hardship
It's not a hardship, no. But my point about better - or perhaps more luxury care in a 2 tier system still stands. The NHS will monetize anything they can going forward. It's not essential for a woman to have a private room post-birth either - I'm sure nearly everyone would prefer one though. So now in many hospitals you can pay to upgrade to one, or else it's a multi-bed post-natal ward where your partner can't stay.
Whether it takes extra time to confirm the sex or not at a scan is quite arbitrary. I think our sonographer at a 31 wk growth scan actually had to work harder not to reveal the gender to us because we didn't want to know. But they know it is a service many people would like and therefore it is easy to monetize.
I think it might be much better if people didn't routinely know the sex of the baby before it was born. A room of your own is a luxury too, if we want services like this then they need to be paid for as well as all the things that are essential.
Having said that as an ex-NHS employee I think that what is happening to the service is incredibly sad.
I don't agree with this at all.
It's one thing (I suppose) if it would genuinely take up too much clinical time to look, but if they have noticed during the course of the scan then I don't think they should actually have the right to keep it from you. It's your baby.
I agree with SaucyJack. It's your baby. I don't see why they can't tell you the sex if it becomes obvious to them during the course of the scan. If they want to charge for that information, that's a different matter - but why make it a separate scan?
On the subject of a two tier system - yeah, we already have that - e.g. the Knutsford private wing at Watford.
Honestly, I'd rather be told about the tests/ services they're not providing to me and be offered the choice to pay for them than just not be informed. I know there are various blood tests that could provide useful information for the pregnancy that aren't routine because they'd take up too much time and cost too much. I'd 100x rather have the choice to pay for them additionally than the current system which denies you the knowledge at all.
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.
Ok theSpork do you suggest I dont bother going to my fortnightly scan to check for twin to twin syndrome.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
But my scans are routine they have found no evidence of twin to twin so far.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don't they check genitals and gender as part of this 20-week scan anyway?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TheSpork What are the examinations and observations that would/ should normally take place? I'm very interested in this.
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