Modern medicine and assisted conception techniques have helped millions of people around the world experience the joy of becoming a parent. Dabbling in creating human being has also raised plenty of ethical questions along the way. Most recently, a woman who is desperate to give her son a baby brother, posted this message on various Facebook support groups for IVF couples.
“Hello, we have been trying to give my child a sibling for three years … we want to complete our family with a son. We have a great quality female embryo. Would you like to consider a trade?”
Anyone for a trade?
While the majority of responses have been from those who are appalled at the mere thought of trading an embryo like a commodity, the woman has actually received some interest from like-minded parents including a couple who were devastated to find out that their embryo was a boy.
What about being grateful for what you have?
There is no denying that parents will often have a preference for a boy or a girl, especially second or third (or fourth …) time around. The couple who responded to the idea of a swap have spent around eight years and thousands of dollars on IVF treatments. They already have two boys. I get it. But to openly voice your “devastation” and refuse to use a viable embryo makes no sense to me. What happens if they swap and the embryo they receive doesn’t result in a successful pregnancy? Ethical, moral and legal questions abound.
The New York Post reported that the mum said, “It would be very nice to have someone to share things with which boys just don’t get. It would be very nice not to have nothing but fart jokes at the table all the time. That’d be great.”
Um, I’ve got news for you … girls can be gross too!
However, she went on to say, “If I were to pick a really girlie thing to do with her, she might not like it. Our elder child loves dance and has an aptitude for it. If she decided she had an aptitude or talent for something else – baseball or whatever – we would encourage her.”
Maybe that’s why I don’t get it. I don’t have such strong ideas of what activities boys or girls should be doing. It’s great that they would encourage their child in pursuit of something that they deem to not be “girlie” but perhaps those preconceived notions of gender roles may be the key to why their baby’s sex is so important to them.
What do you think? Should we be allowed to choose if we have a boy or a girl? Is embryo swapping a step too far? Join the discussion in the comments below.
This blog was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.
Read more on Kidspot:
- Fertility treatments and the IVF process
- 10 ways to boost your fertility
- Choosing the gender of your baby