Why Baby's Sex Shouldn't Be Revealed to Parents Before 30 Weeks

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bootiesAs 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

baby prep, boy or girl, the pregnant life

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nonmember avatar PandoraDoggle

If abortion is permissible before 30 weeks, why should it matter what the reason is? "I don't want this baby" is a perfectly acceptable reason, isn't it? Then why isn't, "I don't want this baby because it's female?" What is it about sex-selective abortion that's any more abhorrent than any other birth control abortion?

2Boun... 2BouncyMonkeys

Though I find the practice disturbing and antiquated.  It is not my choice whether someone else decides to carry to term or terminate.


I may not agree with the decision, but it is not mine to be made.

nonmember avatar Sam

I think telling the sex antenatally should be banned/illegal. Completely.

For one thing, ultrasounds/sonographs are now known to be safe. 3D and 4D scans pose even more potential risk. Risks that we don't fully know because the technology has only been around a short amount of time, and only a very small percentage of babies have been scanned with 3D and 4D scans. But many experts in the medical community are warning against these scans and saying the potential for harm is very real.
But more and more parents are going for these scans, even paying for multiple scans, and gender confirmation is one of the biggest reasons parents give for these extra, unnecessary, and potentially harmful procedures.

I'd rather not know the sex before birth. It's the way all parents did it up until around 1980 when U/S started to be used.

nonmember avatar Elizabeth

ITA that some women would likely abandon their 'wrong sex' newborns when they don't have the chance to abort them. If the baby is lucky, they'll be abandoned somewhere they can be found, unwanted babies in Ancient Rome were just thrown in the city dump.

Then there's the issue of a second (or third, ect) ultrasound! Insurance isn't going to pay for that unless its deemed medically necessary. With ultrasound's safety and reliability in question by some, how many women are going to be tricked into unnecesareans or unnecessary inductions because their 30-something week baby is "too big"? Its a much easier tactic to employ at 30 weeks than 20.

nonmember avatar LouisaF

If the child isn't wanted, there's no good in forcing someone to have an even later-term abortion or carry it to term. I have no respect for people who make these choices for this reason, but I do care about the lives of unwanted children enough not to want to put them through it. Every child should be wanted.

Jeric... Jerichos_Mommy

I think people who'd abort over the sex of a baby should be sterilized.

nonmember avatar Mrs. D

I don't think it's fair that because of some stupid idiotic people who would choose to abort a child based on its sex, the rest of us should have to wait to find out. In our area, a pregnant woman has to be past 21 weeks to find out the sex of the baby. 21 weeks is reasonable.. 30? Is not.

nonmember avatar Amanda B

The number of people who would abort a child because of gender is far less than 1 percent of all pregnancies. To create a law that doesn't allow parents to plan as far ahead as possible for their impending childbirth is just stupid. We should be encouraging people to prepare for children, not making it a game or bending to the pressure of some crazy nut who thinks that more than a few people are using abortion for gender selection.

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