Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Are People Wrong To Pick The Gender Of Their Children?

Twitter, as per usual, was aflame a few weeks ago when Chrissy Teigen openly admitted to (and then further defended her choice to) choosing a female embryo when undergoing IVF. John Legend's wife was quick to point out that, although she wasn't following nature's blessing for her - nature's blessing had in fact been the infertility that led her to IVF in the first place. But is picking the gender of your child the first step towards a genetically modified baby? Is it just a step behind picking it's eye colour, hair colour and so on? Although it opened a very important, and not to mention interesting, dialogue with Teigen talking about how IVF works and what this choice actually boiled down to - it left a very heavy question hanging in the air; are people wrong to choose the gender of their children?

When I come to have a baby, it'll be through the process of IVF. I talk about this a lot, with Katy and my friends; will we pick an anonymous sperm donor? Will we pick someone who looks like whichever partner isn't carrying the child? Would we want to pick a gender? The fact is that, although nature didn't bless us with the possibility of sharing a child that is both genetically mine and Katy's, it blessed us with a whole lot more options and possibilities than many heterosexual (although not all I'm quick to point out at this point) couples face when looking to start a family. These aren't questions about our preferences, they're very simply questions that at some point or another we will have to face.

As Teigen pointed out - IVF isn't the typical way to traditionally have a baby and so, although also atypical, the fact lies right there; the doctor that is administering your IVF knows the sex of the embryos you're about to be presented with. To many of us, a healthy embryo, a viable embryo, would be enough - but the fact is, if you were offered a healthy male embryo and a healthy female embryo and the honest choice to pick; could you honestly say that you'd turn it down? Katy and I have had to consider these things; yes we would pick an anonymous sperm donor, we wouldn't pick the physical genetics in the same way that we wouldn't if we were with a male partner, we wouldn't pick the sex - all we are concerned about is having a child for ourselves; but there are many reasons that this wouldn't be your outlook.

Say, for instance, you carry a genetic disease that only affects the males in your family - would you turn down the choice to know that you were safely carrying a girl? If all you dreamed of was a girl and you already had three boys and no means to go ahead and have any more than four children, would you turn down the chance to check that this was the baby you'd always dreamed of? I can safely say that none of these will ever affect me; but that is not to say that there is nobody in the world that thinks in these black and white circumstances - everyone wants a healthy baby, but undeniably there's more than one compelling reason why you would specifically want that healthy baby to be one sex over the other.

Whether you agree or not with Teigen's choice; the fact is she's started an important dialogue - both about the choices that women undergoing IVF face, but also about IVF itself - something that many people still remain in the dark about. It might have divided people, but at least it got them talking about something that many have remained silent about for too long.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Is Dating Harder In The Modern Age?

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