In six months, I’ll get one of the greatest gifts anyone can receive: a niece or nephew.
My big sister is having a baby, and I couldn’t be more excited. Happily married and 35, she will be a wonderful mother. Right now, we have no idea if she’s having a boy, baby Noah, or a girl, Ella Grace.
And we’re all right with that. The blessing is that our family is expanding.
But some people want more than that.CNN reports that an $18,000 procedure that allows parents to choose their baby’s gender is becoming more and more mainstream.
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a technique developed two decades ago to test embryos for genetic disease. Through in vitro fertilization, where eggs are fertilized outside the womb, embryos are tested so genetic defects aren’t passed on to the children.
I understand and support parents wanting to do as much as they can to ensure a healthy baby. But these days, PGD can be used to pick a boy or a girl the way you pick out an Xbox or a Nintendo Wii.
Some say it’s a scientific breakthrough that expands our options. Others feel it’s wrong.
Ajia Tenney, a 30-year-old newlywed who lives in Lee’s Summit, Mo., sees the pros and cons:
“Initially I’m mortified,” she says. “Some things shouldn’t be predetermined, but I wouldn’t deny someone the option. Some people really care about continuing the family name. I think if you only want three kids and have two girls, picking a boy wouldn’t be so bad.”
I agree but worry about the potential for scarier options to come – like custom-designed babies.
Ghadeer Morris, a Kansas City, Mo., mother of two, says it’s another mad scientist idea.
“I can’t think of a good reason to need to decide a child’s gender,” says Ghadeer, 31. “We already have a problem with orphanages and foster care. What’s next, baby mills?“
Her husband, Chris, 31, sees it differently.
“I have no issues with the idea. If you can abort a baby, why not be able to choose a sex?”
I love science. Because of medical breakthroughs, I know that my niece or nephew is now about the size of a lemon. He or she is doing some thumb-sucking and even wiggling toes. I smile just thinking about it.
So for science continually discovering ways to improve our lives, I’m thankful. But there is a point where science should be limited, and nature should do its thing.
Otherwise we could run the risk of living in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” where the type of lives we will live and the people we will be are pre-determined in a lab.