Is Sex Selection Ever OK?
Monday, August 3rd, 2015
When I first read the news that Kim Kardashian and her husband, Kanye West (in case you weren't aware that the two are a couple!) had opted to only implant male embryos for their second pregnancy, I had a few thoughts:
1. Did she have IVF just to have a boy? I know this is a terrible thought to even have, but I can't deny I definitely wondered. I mean, knowing her open struggle with hating being pregnant, something I can totally understand, I can't help but wonder if the only way she would even consider being pregnant again was to guarantee her boy …?
But then again, secondary infertility is a very real issue many couples face and as the celebrity herself said, “when you don't want to get pregnant it happens. When you want it …”
2. I just can't get on board with sex selection. I'm sure there are others out there who disagree with me, but I just can't wrap my head around the idea of purposefully choosing one gender over the other for my baby.
There are still camps of people out there who don't agree with IVF in general, let alone sex-selection IVF. But in my mind, the whole concept of “designer” babies is just creepy. Not to mention, worldwide, when parents “choose” what gender baby they want and practice sex-selection through abortion or other means, can you take a guess as to what gender most commonly gets cast off?
As the Worldwide Health Organization notes, “Sex selection has a wide range of ethical, legal, and social implications. A significant ethical concern is that sex selection for non-medical reasons will reinforce discrimination, particularly against women.”
I can understand how it might be tempting for couples who have the choice between a male and a female embryo during IVF to try to get their “perfect” family. If you have to choose a baby anyways, why not choose the one you want, right?
And in some ways, sex selective IVF is just another form of the many old wives' tales out there to help you get the sex of the baby you are hoping for, such as waiting until the end of your fertile window to try for a boy, since the egg will be farther down in the fallopian tube and male sperm can't swim as far as female ones.
But still, I think it leads us down a slippery slope of control, unrealistic expectations for what the “perfect” family looks like, and dangerous consequences for the future. Even the WHO points out that “there is concern that sex selection involves inappropriate control over nonessential characteristics of children and may place a potential psychological burden on, and hence cause harm to, sex-selected offspring,” which is something to really think about, especially when you consider other issues, such as transgendered children.
Even the Princess Kimmy K. herself denies actually doing the sex-selective IVF, although I'm still not entirely convinced she didn't do it.
“I'm grateful just to be pregnant, and we would be happy with a boy or a girl,” the star told the Today Show.
Which is kind of how it should it be.
Do you agree with me? Do you think sex selection is ever ok?