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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Parents Spend Millions To Have Girls Instead Of Boys

The gender selection industry generates at least $100 million a year, according to Slate magazine. (Flickr/Christopher Lance)

While some expectant parents wait to find out the sex of their baby, and others want to know after a couple of months of ultrasounds, a growing number of Americans are now using medical techniques to choose the gender of their child.

Jasmeet Sidhu writes in Slate magazine that U.S. parents tend to prefer girls over boys, and are using expensive reproductive procedures to make sure they deliver a daughter.

One gender selection technique, known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), involves culturing embryos to find out what sex the child will be. In another method, sperm is sorted based on whether it carries an X or Y chromosome.


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  • Tim Rohe

    an unattractive man, I welcome the gender imbalance tilting toward
    women.  I look forward to a world where even a sub par mate, such as
    myself, will be able to bask in the Lacan-ian gaze of attractive women
    forced to lower their standards to my level by this unnatural selection.

    • Andro


  • Doug

    Maybe a little behind?  See N.Y. Times article from 2007 on South Korea moving to girls being favored.  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/23/world/asia/23skorea.html?pagewanted=all

  • Pontian61

    Having a boy on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, we almost did go in that route to have a girl and reduce our risk of having another one on the spectrum. 

  • GDF

    I heard in the program that the disabled community is concerned about the fact that disabilities my be eliminated through PGD. I wonder why the concern? I don’t assume the community is concerned that its numbers would decrease…

    • James Harder

      One possible concern is that choosing not to have a child with a disability is the same as saying people with disabilities don’t deserve to live.

  • Jayne Tartan

    This seems like the height of narcissism and selfishness on the part of these parents.  Don’t they realize that by crowding out boys and creating a surplus of girls, they are willfully creating a more difficult, more competitive future for their daughters?  A mother might get her tea party and princess dress fantasies fulfilled, but society–not to mention her daughter–will pay a high price.

  • Rick1911a1

    many years ago, I chose to never have children. I used technology; a vasectomy. It was no ones business but my own. It is, similarly, no ones business if parents choose to use technology to have the children they want. It’s definitely not the business of the Government.

  • charles

    Wow… this discussion left a huge, gaping hole in the information continuum.  
    Sexual determination has long been known to be full of variables independent of chromosomal assignment and NPR (ATC) even reported on new science explaining some of why that is way back six years ago.


    You can be a male with XX chromosomes and a female with XY…  so looking at an embryo’s genetics will certainly not be foolproof at all.

  • Marie Leman

    I’m pro-choice from the perspective that there is a tiny moral burden of killing a cluster of cells that could very well be killed off by nature anyway. Can someone here make a thoughtful, scientifically rational, argument for why sex-selective abortion is any different  than pre-implantation sex selection? I’m not trolling. Just, it seems like sex selection via IVF is so expensive and difficult. For the sake of argument, assume clinical availability of gender determination at 7 weeks via blood test. 

  • Dgdroll

    What the hell happens to all the embryos that aren’t the desired gender? Talk about a “huge gaping hole” in the discussion!?!  I was shocked listening to the description of how the PGD selected embryo was then implanted into the mother with no discussion of the fate of the “unselected”.

    • babb baby

       What happens to the million of unselected sperm a man produces every time he masturbates?

      • Slugrad2010

        The same thing that happens to the egg that a women releases during her cycle.  Dgdroll was referring to the fact that they are discarding human lives.

  • Sleddog_1_1999

    I listened to your show yesterday and was struck by what you said about women choosing girls over boys, it struck a chord with me because years ago male offspring were needed to help on the farm and the Family Name needed passed on.  Very interesting that people are spending money on getting a specific gender.. I am happy with my 3 kiddos and would not have changed their gender.  Regard, Sarah R.

  • Gretchen

    Thank you for this story!  My husband carries a gene for a rare neurodegenerative condition, resulting in his inability to walk.  The childhood onset of his condition develops in seemingly normal 3- to 8-year-old boys and is fatal, typically within one year.  In order to prevent passing this X-linked disorder on to our children and grandchildren, we have undergone IVF with PGD to select to have a son, effectively ending inheritance of the gene and suffering of future generations.  Our first attempt was unsuccessful and our second attempt resulted in just one blastocyst which PGD determined to be male.  We are now almost four months pregnant with our first (and likely only due to the expense) child, a son.  I do not agree with PGD as a means of family balancing or designer babies, but I do see a huge benefit in being able to prevent genetic conditions like the one that runs in our family.

  • Alfred

    Instead of needing lots of children, we need high-quality children.  Margaret Mead(1901-78)  An early advocate for eugenics.

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