In in era where people screen and abort female pregnancies or abandon girls, it is surprising to discover there is a community of families who are desperate to have daughters. There are indeed Americans that are paying top dollar to physicians who can promise a baby girl made from their own genetic material. Using techniques created to prevent and weed out genetic abnormalities/diseases, gender selection using specialized reproductive procedures has become a multimillion-dollar industry. Framed as "family balancing" to make gender selection more... acceptable, fertility doctors are bank rolling this $100 Million dollar a year business.
The United States is one of few countries in which a technique know as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is legal for prenatal gender selection. It's illegal for non-medical use Canada, the U.K., and Australia. Designed in the early 1990s to screen embryos for chromosome-linked diseases. Gender-selection patients of the most prominent clinics famous for the technique are typically around 30 years old, educated, married, and middle to upper class. They usually have a couple of children already. These niche clinics can also make your child's eye and hair color to order, but due to public scrutiny have halted the practice.
The article that brought this disturbing new trend to my attention states the common reasoning behind these families need for baby girls:
Interviews with several women from the forums at in-gender.com and genderdreaming.com yielded the same stories: a yearning for female bonding. Relationships with their own mothers that defined what kind of mother they wanted to be to a daughter. A desire to engage in stereotypical female activities that they thought would be impossible with a baby boy.
But the article also points out the possible psychological harm to children born through gender selection. They fear these children would be pressured to live up to the stereotypes of the gender that was picked out and paid for by their parents.
My husband was one of many boys and one sister, amongst his brothers is this rather sickening need for Jr.'s, I can't tell you the scrutiny we faced for giving our much coveted boy child his own individual name. So much so, that my husband considered changing our son's name so he could be a II or Jr. We never thought we would have boys, but love and find joy equally in both our children. Both our children will hopefully carry on our legacy and teachings.