New DNA technology allows parents to see their baby’s gender when it’s the size of a bean. But should they?
“Mommy, I want a brother. NOT a sister,” said Miles, my eldest son, when hearing I was pregnant again.
It seemed important to know whether he would need to be eased into wanting a sister instead, so we found out as soon as we could at a 12 week scan.
“It’s a boy.” Phew.
Now, 10 years later, parents have a choice to see the gender much earlier. With just a small blood test, you can now know the gender of your baby at only 8 weeks. The new test - Foetal_Determining
looks at foetal cellular material that is naturally released into the mother’s bloodstream. It’s the latest way to get an accurate view on whether you’re carrying a boy or a girl.
But is it a good idea? For most ordinary couples who don’t have medical reasons to learn the gender at 8 weeks, getting used to being pregnant is enough of a challenge. In addition, some families may choose to terminate an 8-week foetus rather than have a child of an unwanted gender. Yet when the baby comes, many of the perceived issues fall away.To see the sex or not?
“I was pissed off that I was having another son,” says Sam Wilson
, Parent24’s Editor-in-Chief. “Right until I was handed the fabulous bundle that was my Benj. I feel guilty about those negative pregnancy feelings, which I could have avoided by just not finding out. Because when you find out the sex of your unborn baby, you are really finding out what you are not getting – because you haven’t unwrapped what you DID get yet.”
Many people still swear by the more old-fashioned joy of a baby being born, and the doctor then revealing the gender with a flourish. Some couples may ask the doctor not to tell them the gender, no matter which type of test they have had and how accurate it may be.
Parent24 blogger Preggieupdates
has chosen to keep the gender just between herself and her husband.
In addition to the new test, there are already a number of other reliable ways to tell whether your baby is a boy or a girl.
- Scans are ever more accurate, although everyone knows a story where the doctor thought she saw a penis and it was just the umbilical cord, or something similar.
- Chorionic villus sampling is usually done at around 12 weeks to predict foetal abnormality, but it can also predict the baby’s gender with great accuracy.
- An amniocentesis is very accurate for predicting gender, but it’s not likely to be done just for that reason, as it carries a small danger of miscarriage. The exception is if your doctor thinks the foetus might have a medical problem that is influenced by gender.
Whatever your method, it does somehow take a tiny shred of the huge mystery out of it to know too much too soon.
And what if a blood test could tell if your baby would be clever, or beautiful, or have criminal tendencies?
How much do we want to know, and when? Share in the comment box below.