Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Baby Gender: Why Find Out The Sex Of Your Baby (Guest Post)

Human beings are innately curious and thus, it is no surprise that when it comes to one of the biggest moments of our lives, becoming parents, we are curious to know whether we will be having a baby boy or baby girl. Yes, undoubtedly for some couples it goes beyond simple curiosity and for some others, there might be certain social pressures that come to bear. Let us look at motives for finding out the gender of your baby as well as baby gender testing.

Modern couples and baby gender

Discovering the gender of your baby can help bring the family closer. It is hard for some couples to be expecting a baby and not know if it is a baby boy or baby girl. They might feel that constantly referring to the child as “it” detracts from an important part of parenting in the prenatal stage. Why not learn the sex of the baby and begin conceiving the individual as a “he” or a “she” or perhaps even pick a name and begin referring to the new addition by his or her name. Further to this, discovering the gender of their baby might help them short listing names or choose baby bedroom d├ęcor and color scheme.

There may be medical reasons for wanting to know the gender of a child – in some cases, certain hereditary illnesses or genetic abnormalities might be specific to either males or females. Couples might thus opt to do a baby gender test in order to know whether the baby might be affected by the illness.

Patriarchal Cultures

Although western cultures are still rather patriarchal, we have generally moved on and males and females stand on equal ground. However, there are many cultures around the world which place much bigger important on baby boys than baby girls. In some countries, gender selection is still practiced due to certain cultural perceptions associated with females; in these countries, the birth might either be terminated and the fetus aborted should it be found to be a female. In extreme cases, the female baby might be killed at birth. India and China are two countries where gender selection, although not legal, is still very widespread. In these cultures, males are the ones who carry on the blood line, work and provide income and viewed as the pivot of a family. Females may be considered burdens and will not enjoy the same rights, privileges and degree of freedom that males would. Gender selection does have bpitfalls beyond ethics and principles. It can create a demographic unbalance where the male to female ratio is too low or too high. In western cultures, this problem has not been observed and the demographic male to female ratio is well balanced. Despite laws banning gender selection and the refusal of most DNA testing companies to provide gender testing in certain countries, the practice is still widespread. Studies have shown that in rural China gender selection takes place frequently. Countries like India have made it illegal to reveal the gender of the baby during an ultrasound in an attempt to curb gender selection.

Baby gender testing

There are countless ways of determining whether you will have a baby girl or baby boy. How accurate do you need your results to be? If you are just happy playing around and experimenting, then you can follow the steps of many other mothers and carry out one of the home baby gender prediction tests such as the cabbage test or the Chinese calendar – results might be wrong, but they can be nevertheless, fun to carry out.

If you are set on discovering the gender, you can have a DNA test carried out (see example here). There are 2 main non invasive tests that you can carry out early in pregnancy – in fact, these baby gender DNA tests can reveal the gender of your baby far earlier that your 18-20th week ultrasound (which mind you, according to FDA recommendations, you should not carry out just for getting to know the sex of your baby).

A urine sample or a blood sample is all that is needed to know the gender of your child. A urine sample has no specific requirements – so as long as you are in your 9th week of pregnancy. With blood, you have the inconvenience of the sampling process which generally is a self-sampling procedure whereby you are required to prick your finger and collect the samples on a special, sterile paper. Whichever sample you collect will contain varying amounts of baby DNA. This is simply because fetal cells die and find their way across the placenta. They then enter the mother’s blood stream and begin circulating around her body. Eventually all blood gets cleared by the kidneys and the filtrations process expels fetal DNA with the urine. Analysis of either sample will thus provide the gender of the baby. If analysis confirms Y chromosomes in the sample, then the baby is a boy. If the analysis shows no Y chromosome, the baby is a girl.  

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1 comment

Anonymous said...

I think if you want to share reasons to learn the gender you need a post sharing the benefits of not knowing. To state knowing can bring a family closer implies not knowing doesn't. And this is not true. Also, in countries where males are redeemed, it is illegal for doctors to share the gender. The fact that this is happening is sad. And to include it in a "Why find out" post is horrible, to say the least!

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