Experts Suggest Withhold Revealing Baby’s Gender

Girl Cupcake

At about 20 weeks gestation (and sometimes sooner), an ultrasound technician can find out the sex of your baby if you want her to. If you’re anything like me, YOU WANT HER TO, and you look forward to this moment almost as much as to your baby’s actual birth. This scan is a little peek into the future – will you be inundated with pink princess clothes or trucks and trains? – and it can help you not only plan for but also bond with the coming addition to your family. It’s my favorite way to celebrate the halfway mark in a pregnancy.

But an editorial published last week  in the Canadian Medical Association Journal is recommending that ultrasound technicians withhold information about the sex of the baby until 30 weeks gestation. Why? To prevent mothers from aborting their girl babies. Yes, this is actually happening in North America in the 21st century.

The editorial highlights the high rates of first- and second-trimester abortion for female fetuses within certain ethnic communities that emphasize the importance of male children (mostly Asian cultures, including people from India, China, Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines). Experts believe that making parents wait to learn the sex of the baby until 30 weeks  – when the mother is in her third trimester and an unquestioned abortion is “all but impossible” in Canada – would decrease the female feticide rate.

For many of us, finding out the sex of the baby 10 weeks later than usual would be a bummer and an inconvenience – less time to decide on a name, prepare the nursery, shop for clothes, knit booties. But when you consider it might prevent thousands of girl babies from being aborted, it can seem a small price to pay. After all, in the majority of cases, the sex of a baby is “medically irrelevant,” and there’s no reason an ultrasound practice has to offer up that information in the first place (and many don’t). And remember, not too long ago, we didn’t even have the technology to find out the baby’s sex before it came out and the doctor announced “It’s a…”

But now that we can find out, how would you feel about waiting until you’re 7 1/2 months pregnant to know the sex of your baby? Do you think it should be within your rights as the parent to have that information as early as possible, or do you think it’s better to wait if it means protecting  female fetuses who might not otherwise be born at all? Or are you at the other end of the table, believing that a woman’s right to choose whether or not to give birth to a baby – for any reason, even the baby’s sex – is up to her and no one else?