Boy or Girl, Do I Dare?
Is Gender Selection Right For You?
The topic of gender selection when doing IVF seems so taboo to most of my patients. I have some patients who are only doing IVF in order to get either a boy or a girl specifically. Generally they don’t have any fertility issues per se and have no problem with gender selection. Sometimes they already have boys/girls at home, sometimes they just want one child and they want specifically a boy/girl. Either way, they are adamant about only wanting a boy/girl. I also have patients who aren’t adamant about it but have a preference for boy/girl. This group tends to be doing IVF for infertility issues and also tend to have guilt about preferring a boy/girl.
I remember I had a couple who had just finished a consult with Dr. Sher and the woman called me aside privately and said she was too embarrassed to ask Dr. Sher about this but wanted to know what she could do to try to have a girl. I asked her why she felt uncomfortable and she explained that of course, they’d be happy with a healthy child, but she felt bad that she wanted to try for a girl and just plain felt guilty for having these thoughts. I told her that in no way should she feel this way. It is indeed a very rare individual (in or out of the infertility community) who doesn’t dream about their first child being a boy or girl…or maybe having one of each…or all of one. I think most of us do this and it is very normal. No reason it should be abnormal just because you are undergoing IVF. I have news for you as well, all you can do is try to hedge your bets as it is. The reality is all we can really do is let you know what gender you gave us in embryos, we can’t alter what you give us. I laugh, though it isn’t funny, but it really seems that most of the time a couple ends up with the “other” gender. Those who wanted girls end up with more boy embryos and vice versa.
I had a very wealthy couple who came to see us and they were adamant about wanting girl babies only. They were both older and each had boys from previous marriages so they wanted daughters together. The couple needed egg donation and since money was no object they went with 2 egg donors since they knew that their choice of gender was reducing their chances by half. Well, one donor only gave them “normal” boys and the other donor ended up giving them 2 “normal” girls. Seemed like a lot of money spent to only get 2 embryos for transfer. They handled it pretty well but as most folks they didn’t feel like they were getting what they paid for and I had to explain that though there is lots of interventions involved in IVF, there is still plenty left up to old mother nature and gender is one of them.
At almost the same time that this couple was cycling I had another well to do business couple (without infertility issues) that wanted to control their reproductive choices and have a boy first then girl…..thank you very much. It sounded like they were coming in to our office to order drapes. Husband was a very assertive type and definitely felt that they should get what they paid for. Again, mother nature decided differently, and they were given “normal” girl embryos first time around. They froze the girls and cycled again. Next time around they got lucky and got their “normal” boy embryos and she had a beautiful little boy. Now it was time for the girl. They came back for the frozen transfers and didn’t succeed with the girl embryos. They went through another fresh cycle and again got “normal” boy embryos. She was successful and now they have their two children….two boys. You see, we can only control so much of what mother nature controls, so like the rest of us out there (and as my 5 year old learned in pre-school)…..you git what you git and you don’t throw a fit!