Is it really such a bad thing to allow parents the ability to choose the gender of their baby?
It was these words which scratched the wounds of many of our readers this morning:
“I might seem ungrateful because I already have three healthy sons. But unless you’ve experienced gender disappointment, you can’t understand how crippling it can be.”
The very idea that a mother could be disappointed in what gender her child was seems shocking. Unnatural.
Words like “selfish” and “bitch” were cast at her. You don’t deserve children.
Passionate raw stories of infertility were posted.
Heartbreaking tales of loss and disappointment.
All in relation to the news that the National Health and Medical Research Council are considering changing the rules on gender selection in Australia.
All in relation to the idea that women might be given the option to pick girl or boy just before they decide on the Bugaboo or the Mountain Buggy.
Social media outraged that something “natural” and “god-given” could be a lifestyle choice.
Their outrage is one shared with the Australian public who overwhelmingly disagree with gender selection through IVF.
In fact a 2013 Roy Morgan poll found only one in five Australians supports the process.
Australians feel it is “playing god”, it is “changing nature”, it is a “slippery slope” to designer babies.
But I am not so sure.
What I struggle to understand in debates like this is why, when it really won’t affect the rest of us we care so much.
Women who say they would like the ability to go through the expensive and lengthy IVF procedure speak of the hold so called “gender disappointment” has over them. They speak of the “emotional torment” they feel.
Whether or not I agree that being disappointed you won’t be able to go shopping for pink tutus in the future equates to “emotional torment” these women say their feelings are very real.
And its difficult to deny another’s feeling exist no matter what their determinate is.
The fact is I think we all need to calm down a little about predictions gender selection will be the end of our society as we know it.
I think we need to calm down a little from talk it is “playing god” because let’s face it that’s what science is, isn’t it?
I think we need to back off from fears that, in Australia, it will create a gender imbalance and look at it for what it really is.
A family looking to balance the boys and girls in their household. A couple desiring the baby of their dreams. A (possibly superficial and warped yes) desire to buy gingham lace curtains or have a household filled with cricket bats.
But an overwhelming desire none-the less.
Is that really so bad?
I haven’t experienced the loss of a baby, or struggled with fertility and I in no way mean to take from that or devalue the ache I imagine overshadows every aspect of your life.
But I don’t imagine families wanting to use gender selection wish to downplay the emotions of infertile couples either.