The instinct is not so un-natural – you want a boy and a girl, or 2 boys, or 2 girls and a boy…Many couples have probably given some thought to what their idea of a complete family is. But there is a fine line between thinking and going beyond the thinking.

I remember when I was pregnant in India – I sat through many ultrasounds ill with anticipation. Was I having a boy or a girl? In India, sex pre-selection techniques are “illegal” (and if you have ever traveled there, you know what the quotation marks mean). This presumably included telling the baby’s sex via an ultrasound. My pre-natal physician at the Manipal Hospital in Bangalore was a strict observer of the Indian law (unfortunate for me, but I am thankful and commend her for upholding the law) – so strict in fact that she would not even let my radiologist-husband get a glimpse of the screen for more than a few seconds. I didn’t learn I was having a boy until we arrived back in the US a few weeks before his birth (though I admit I was hoping for a little girl).

Despite India’s law, the female-to-male ratio is on a sharp decline in the country. The Census Office released its latest figures just a few days ago: in the 0-6 year age group, the number of girls to every 1,000 boys fell to just 914, even lower than the 927 of the 2001 census. And this despite the fact that the women’s literacy rate was on the rise.

The news comes as a shocking disappointment to many activists of female rights and anti-sex detection. You would think that better education and economic security would have the opposite effect. Is there something about being better educated and having more wealth that makes people more likely to act on their desire for a child of a particular sex?

Of course there is no shortage of theories out there – there’s the infamous Shettles method, a diet method and even Ayurveda has some guidelines on the relation between the date of conception and the baby’s gender. But beyond the books, there are also clinics that promise “100% gender selection” – many which advertise heavily to the Indian community.

So did I act?  Not the first time around (he was a surpise). But the second time around, I did read about the popular theories and even bought the Shettles book. It has always been my nature to educate myself on all things relevant. I suppose that makes me guilty. However, in my defense, my husband and I chose not to find out the sex of our second child until the birth. We were blessed with a girl, but we had decided long before conception that the sex didn’t matter to us. It’s just a shame that governments have to pass laws to remind parents of this.


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One Response to “Gender Pre-Selection :: Are You Guilty?”

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