As we've become accustomed to the ability to find out our baby's sex long before he or she is born, it's jolting to think that privilege (or right, depending how you feel about it) could be taken away. No more gender reveal cakes! But some doctors say the information should at least be delayed in order to prevent people from aborting babies who aren't the sex they want.
In Canada, a call has been made to delay the revelation of a fetus's gender until 30 weeks. Typically the information is given during an ultrasound in the 20th week, when abortion is a more readily available option.
While it's not a widespread problem in the United States or Canada, gender-based abortion does happen. In an article in the Canadian Medical Journal, Dr. Rajendra Kale referred to a small study in the U.S. of 65 immigrant Indian women. In it, 40 percent had terminated earlier pregnancies, and 89 percent had an abortion in their subsequent pregnancies because they were having girls. He says a baby's sex is "medically irrelevant," besides special cases in which gender-related diseases are an issue.
It seems extreme and ridiculous to punish the masses for the choices of a few, but if that's what it takes to prevent such atrocities, then perhaps it's for the best. A little patience is small price to pay.
Much of the practice is cultural and based on how women are treated in certain countries, but there are and will certainly be those who do it for simply selfish reasons as well. And the bigger implications are frightening as more and more information about our unborn babies becomes available. First, it's things like diseases they may carry and their sex, and before you know it, people are aborting babies because they don't have blue eyes or they have a birth mark somewhere. At some point we have to stop and question how much information is really valuable and how much creates unnecessary ethical problems.
The bottom line here is this: Knowing the sex of one's baby is nice for planners, but it's not necessary. Stopping something as abhorrent as sex selective abortions is.
Do you think information about a baby's sex should be withheld from parents if it helps prevent some abortions based on sex selection?
Image via handmaidenbymaria/Flickr