Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Why would anyone choose between a boy or girl?

Seriously, why would any one want to choose the sex of a child? Any child, boy or girl, is a gift of Nature.

The most rational, secular reason is family balancing. Some people think a family is "complete" only if they have both boys and girls. Growing up together, both boys and girls may learn to see the world from each other's points of view, be able to understand the opposite sex better, and hopefully, be able to have better relationships with the opposite sex when they are adults. Such couples decide to have another pregnancy in the hope that the ‘balancing” gender of child will be born this time.

A more emotional reason to wish for a boy or girl would be companionship. A father may wish to have a boy with whom he can share hobbies and interests, adventures. A mother might think she can share more of life with a girl child.

Many couples longing for a child of a particular sex will tend to have more children than they had planned for, in an attempt to have a child of the preferred gender. If they wish for a boy, and the first two kids are girls, they are likely to try for one more child in the hope that this will be a boy. Getting pregnant again, though not planned earlier.

In some communities, a son is preferred as an insurance against infirmity and old age. It is considered the son’s sacred duty to look after the parents in their old age. The inconvenience of another pregnancy and care for another baby is nothing compared to the sense of security that the birth of a son will bring.(You can’t really say that the son will take care of the parents, or that a daughter will not. Just as the daughter will require her husband’s/ husband’s family to support her in caring for her parent, a son will also have to get help and support form his wife if he is to care for his old parents).

Again, a son is desired in some communities for religious reasons. For example, Hinduism expects certain rites to be performed after death to smoothen the soul’s path to heaven and rebirth. These rites have to be performed by male children, and the absence of a male child is considered unfortunate.

A girl child is not welcome in many communities where dowry practices continue, because getting a girl married, giving her all that she need to set up a home, further expenses at the time of child-bearing and delivery can all impoverish the parents. In such communities, especially among the middle classes and the poor, the boy or girl question is very important. That is why many pregnant women resort to scans to know the gender of the child – (and get rid of the foetus if it is a girl).
People do have a case (rational, justifiable from their perspective) for gender selection!

Can you choose the gender of your child, really?


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