Why Gender Selection Is Wrong & Should Be Illegal Everywhere

One of the many things I’ve learnt since becoming a parent is that there is no such thing as a “right” way to do something.  Nothing infuriates me more than when people feel forced or obligated to choose a particular path when navigating the treacherous journey that is becoming a mum – whether than be breastfeeding vs bottle feeding or working mum vs stay at home.  In my mind, almost all parenting decisions belong solely to the parents themselves and are nothing to do with the government or our peers.  Largely, I try to live by this.  However, there are a couple of debate topics where I find myself unable to be tolerant and one of those is so-called gender selection.

Original caption: Fertility science can now easily accommodate a couple's wish for a specific sex for their child using various methods. --- Image by © Caren Brinkema/Science Faction/Corbis
Image by © Caren Brinkema/Science Faction/Corbis

Model Danielle Lloyd recently caused controversy for admitting she would consider using gender selection fertility treatment in order to “complete” her family with a baby girl.  Gender selection is, thankfully, illegal in the UK but it is available in some other countries such as Cyprus and the US.  Despite my blood boiling as soon as I heard of her remarks, I decided to give Ms Lloyd the benefit of the doubt, as celebrities are so often misquoted, and watched her defending her choice on ITV’s Loose Women last week.  It quickly became apparent that my initial response that her choice is based on ignorance and selfishness was indeed spot on.

During the talk show, Ms Lloyd struggled to give any valid reasons for why she wanted the procedure other than vague notions that she wanted more “balance” in her family and that she was desperate to experience the mother & daughter bond.  This enraged me on so many levels.

Firstly, what is this ridiculous notion of “balance”?  All families are unique and all are special.  Do we really have to have the perfect blend of sexes to be satisfied?  This implies she cares more about how her family looks from the outside than simply being grateful for the children she has.  And is this not a huge insult to her sons?  Their mother is essentially saying “Our bond is nowhere near as close as a bond I could have with a daughter.”  This is truly offensive.  The bond you have with your child is based on yours and your child’s personalities and the level of nurturing you have offered during their childhood.  It has nothing to do with their sex.  And my goodness, what a lot of unhelpful pressure her belief would be heaping onto her relationship with her daughter before she is even conceived!

Secondly, she can’t predict the future and she has no idea what sort of personality her future baby girl would have.  How does she know that her daughter would be the type to indulge in all the traditional “girly” pastimes that Ms Lloyd is clearly so desperate to experience with her.

Thirdly, in this modern age we are actually striving to eliminate gender divides, not encourage them!  I strongly believe any child, regardless of their sex, should be able to wear whatever clothes and play with whatever toys they wish, rather than forcing all little girls to wear pink and play with dolls.  Surely if gender is so important families are willing to put in this much effort to ensure a specific sex, this is sending a very mixed message to a society that largely encourages gender fluidity?

Lastly, she is selfish – plain and simple.  Her motivations for gender selection were for nobody elses’s benefit but her own.  I’m all for women having choices but I draw the line here.  During the interview, Ms Lloyd continually lamented about how grateful she was for her existing children, and how lucky she was compared to the many couples who struggle with their fertility, but clearly she didn’t mean a word of that because someone who was truly thankful and appreciative for what they have would never consider gender selection.

Gender Selection 2

As someone who is struggling to have a second child I find the concept of gender selection particularly abhorrent.  I am painfully aware of how miraculous having any child is so the idea of someone being dissatisfied with their child based on something as minor as their sex feels like an insult.

Putting personal differences aside, surely we are also entering very dangerous moral territories with medical procedures such as these?  I remember Dolly The Sheep being cloned during my teens and the question of medical ethics being put under the spotlight.  The human race follows a natural order at present and surely it is not down to us to play God or Mother Nature in this way?  To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, just because something in science can be done that doesn’t necessarily mean that it should.  Clearly this is the sensible standpoint taken by medical authorities in the UK and I urge other countries to follow suit before something like gender selection spirals out of control.

I should point out here that there is one instance where I believe gender selection has merit and that is on medical grounds.  I’m well aware that certain awful genetic conditions affect only one sex and couples with these genes are keen to undergo treatments order to ensure they are able to have a child free from a disease that is going to hinder their quality of life.  I support and understand this.  What I’m speaking against is parents, like Ms Lloyd, opting for gender selection for no reason besides vanity.

As someone who has done a great deal of soul searching and mental renovation during the last five years thanks to my experiences with perinatal mental illness, I would urge Ms Lloyd to take a moment for self-reflection before embarking on such an endeavour.  Her desire for this elusive “balance” and mythical mother/daughter bond, which she believes to be so very different from her mother/son bond, indicates to me that she has some work to do on herself; on her thinking and her core values.  To wish for a particular sex of child is one thing, and it’s common and understandable, but to go so far as to travel many miles and pay a great deal of money just to ensure you get the baby you want implies a deep dissatisfaction in her life, and her mind.  And I suggest Ms Lloyd looks into that.

I would love to hear what you all think about this topic in the comments below.

20 comments on “Why Gender Selection Is Wrong & Should Be Illegal Everywhere

  1. I am 100% in agreement with you on this topic. Such a selfish and vain way of thinking. Of course like you mention, when it comes to medical grounds then yeah, sure, I get it. But every child is a blessing- boy or girl. I have 3 girls and a boy… I wouldn’t change (or choose) their genders for anything. x

  2. I didn’t even know gender selection was possible these days! We didn’t find out the gender either time, and it wouldn’t have made any difference to us. We also struggled with conceiving our second child, so a healthy baby was all we wished for!

  3. I don’t think she came from a malicious place. I remember being at work a few years ago when a colleague came in following her 20 week scan sobbing uncontrollably. Like everyone else we feared that she had been given some devastating news. She had just been told that she was having her third boy! Her behaviour was very odd. I remember at the time (we were trying for a baby) thinking that she was being a right cow and didn’t deserve the baby. I’ve got one of each with another on the way and I really don’t mind what sex it is as long as it’s healthy. Very controversial

    1. Yeah that is quite strange. Obviously everyone’s feelings are valid but that’s why the scientific community have to responsible in my opinion. Thanks so much for reading and commenting x

  4. This is such a hard topic to discuss because there can be so many different factors involved. I agree that on medical grounds gender selection is the right thing to do. x

  5. I totally agree that gender selection shouldn’t happen. I do think, however, that medical scientists should spend more time focusing on how we can use DNA selection to help people who has genetic disorders that could be passed on to their kids.

  6. I agree with Helen. On medical grounds it is certainly the right thing to do so surely if that’s an agreement then it should be made legal on those grounds? I more than struggled to have our boy and he is an IVF (4th round) baby. If someone had said to me at the time you can chose the gender of your baby what would you like I would have thought them mad. However I kind of can understand where some families are coming from. I don’t condone it but I get it.

    1. Oh yes I definitely think it should be legal on genetic, medical grounds (and truth be told it might be, not sure). Thanks so much for commenting x

  7. I agree with you totally in my heart. I guess sometimes we all think irrationally though and it must be very hard if you are being pulled strongly in one direction. It’s a funny old thing is motherhood x

    1. Oh yeah, I agree that it is difficult if you particularly want one sex over another but just think actually choosing might be the beginning of something that impacts the human race as a whole in the future. Thanks so much for reading and commenting x

  8. I’ve heard of the whole gender selection thing, but I wasn’t aware that it was now an actual possibility. I agree 100% with you – i especially like your point about how in this day and age we are pushing so hard for gender equality and for people to identify with whatever gender they seem fit. To determine the sex of your baby seems mad to me. I’m pregnant with baby number two and, ideally, we would all like a girl…but equally, no matter what the outcome is, that baby is healthy and will be loved – boy or girl.

    1. Yeah exactly, it just seems to contradict the gender fluidity concept. I think it’s totally normal for people to wish for a particularly sex but to actually have medical assistance to ensure it seems so odd. Best of luck with your pregnancy x

  9. I totally agree with you on this too. On medical grounds I think it’s totally understandable, but just because someone wants one sex over another, it shouldn’t be allowed. If you have a baby you should be happy for them to be either sex, and as someone who has lost 16 babies, just be grateful they are healthy.

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