American women are paying fertility clinics exorbitant amounts of money to gender-select their unborn children.
Though many find the process of gender selection highly unethical, many US fertility clinics are capitalizing on the preference of American women and charging $40,000 for a guaranteed little pink bundle of joy.
Gender selection or “family balancing” rakes in at least $100 million every year, with an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 procedures being performed, according to reports from Slate.com.
And it seems 80 percent of clients request baby girls.
“I’m not into sports. I’m not into violent games. I’m not into a lot of things boys represent and boys do,” Jennifer Merrill Thompson, author of Chasing the Gender Dream, said of her decision to choose the sex of her daughter.
The controversial procedure begins by harvesting a woman’s eggs and fertilizing them with sperm samples collected by the fertility clinic. After three days of incubation, an embryologist uses a laser to cut a hole through an embryo’s protective membrane and then picks out one of the eight cells.
Fluorescent dyes help the embryologist to see the chromosomes and determine whether the embryo is carrying the larger XX pair of chromosomes or the tinier XY. The remaining seven cells will go on to develop normally if the embryo is chosen and implanted in a woman’s uterus.
Though gender selection may be impressive from a technological standpoint, Marcy Darnovsky, director of the Center for Genetics and Society, worries that it may have negative social repercussions. “If you’re going through the trouble and expense to select a child of a certain sex, you’re encouraging gender stereotypes that are damaging to women and girls,” she explained. “What if you get a girl who wants to play basketball? You can’t send her back.”
What do YOU think about gender selection?
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