Gender Selection

Methods for Obtaining a Child of a Specific Gender and Issues Surrounding Gender Selection

The topic of gender selection relates to utilizing various means and methods to produce a child of a specific gender. In the past, this term only related to informal "at-home" methods and techniques that were linked to producing specific genders as a result of various tricks relating to conception. Today, there are more technical ways of helping to produce a child of a specific gender but along with this technology comes controversy. The following sections will discuss both formal and informal gender selection techniques as well as pros and cons and ethical dilemmas surrounding the use of such methods.

Informal Gender Selection Methods

Choosing the sex of your child may be attempted by utilizing certain techniques in the bedroom, so to speak. It is claimed by various doctors and others in the conception area that methods such as having intercourse at a particular time of the month, specific positions during intercourse and frequency thereof are all factors which need to be monitored throughout the conception period. Dr. Landrum Shettles published a book in 1989 entitled How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby. In this book, Dr. Shettles recommends various techniques for having a boy or a girl. He states that to increase the likelihood of having male offspring, intercourse should occur on a strict timetable (24 hours prior to ovulation) and in a particular manner such as choosing a position which enables the sperm to get to the eggs faster. Alternatively, Dr. Shettles recommends that in order to try and produce a girl, intercourse should occur frequently from the start of the cycle to ovulation and the couple should utilize the missionary position during intercourse. A 75% success rate was achieved for those trying for girls and 80% success rate for those couples hoping for a boy, according to Dr. Shettle. However, there are other doctors and individuals who disagree with the beliefs of Dr. Shettle.

Pros and Cons of Informal Gender Selection

Methods There are a number of pros and cons that go along with informal gender selection methods. Some of the pros include greater chance of choosing the gender as opposed to not trying to do so at all and the lack of any cost involved in the process. On the other hand, some cited cons of informal gender selection may be inadequate methods, frustration, and imperfect timing.

Ethical Questions Involved with Informal Gender Selection

Some people view trying to select gender as being unnatural. People with strong religious beliefs may ultimately feel that trying to take matters of this type into one's own hands is not a good thing to do and it is something that should be left up to a higher power. Whatever outsiders may believe, it is ultimately a choice that should be left up to the couple and what occurs in their own bedroom in this regard is up to them.

Formal Gender Selection Methods

There are also formal gender selection methods that couples may utilize when trying to have a baby of a specific gender. Medical methods exist where the sperm is separated based upon X and Y chromosomes to try and result in a male or female fetus being conceived as a result of this medical intervention. Another method that's purpose may be to initiate gender selection is embryo-selection, a type of in vitro fertilization. This is quite a costly procedure and may cost around $20,000 per attempt so in vitro fertilization is rarely used for sex determination purposes and is more often used to enable an individual to become pregnant.

Pros and Cons of Formal Gender Selection

Procedures Some pros of this type of gender selection procedure are high rates of success and decreased chance of timing mistakes. There are also a number of cons for utilizing formal gender selection methods of this type which includes high cost, having to undergo extensive medical procedures and ethical issues.

Ethical Questions Involved with Formal Gender Selection

Procedures This type of gender selection method is extremely controversial when utilized for the sole purpose of determining gender. Many individuals, even more so than with the informal techniques, look upon this type of medical procedure as people trying to play God. They argue that having children should not be so scientific and should be more natural. There are many arguments that arise when this type of gender selection method is discussed and is of such a level that many different emotions come into play.

As one can see, gender selection is not without its share of controversy. Utilizing informal gender selection methods is looked upon more favorably than methods of such a formal nature that they require medical intervention. Whatever the individual beliefs may be regarding a method of this type, it is up to the individuals who are responsible for choosing whether or not to use these techniques to be happy with their personal decision.