Choose your baby's gender? No thanks

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It's easy enough to get angry or despondent when listening to the news. There's enough going on in Syria, Egypt and Istanbul to make you despair. But this morning I was really yelling at the Radio 4's Today Programme. A group of leading geneticists argue that it should be legal, for social reasons, to choose the gender of your child.

What?'

Do we not have more pressing things to think about these parents who clearly have too much time on their hands? Stephen Wilkinson, Prof of Bioethics at Lancaster University, believes that the 'welfare of parents should be taken into consideration. For example, mothers of many sons who might want a daughter. These people are suffering'. Children are not a right. If you are blessed with offspring you count their little fingers and little toys and pray they're healthy. You choose to have children for many reasons, and choose the number of children for the same reasons. If you start thinking of a 'little girl to go shopping with' or 'a little boy to throw balls with' you're heading for disappointment. There is no justification to allow parents to choose the gender of their children. What next? Being allowed to choose character traits, such as imparting a sunny disposition. Or perhaps parents would like to be allowed a tick list of physical and emotional characteristics: a six-foot son with green eyes whose lustrous brown hair will never grey? A Kate Middleton look-alike with the personality and looks to snare a future king?

I'm possibly (definitely) biased on this one. As the mother of four sons I am constantly asked whether I might 'go for another' in the hope it might be a girl. And whether I had four children in the first place in the hope that maybe, just maybe, if I crossed my legs and drank cranberry juice one of them would turn out to be pink rather than blue. 

No, no, no! Aside from the fact that four children running around is quite enough for me (thank you very much), I'm extremely proud of my sons and happy to be a 'mother of boys'. But the main point is that I'd have been just as happy with four girls or a mixture of both genders. Please stop, scientists. There is no 'better' gender or happier family mix. You get what you get and should be sensible enough to realise how lucky you are and live your life accordingly. Here's the link to the Radio 4 Today feature - what do you think?


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