Thursday, February 23, 2006

One more reason to choose, very important

There is one very impotant reason to be concerned about the gender of your child when you are planning to have a baby.

I didn't have this information that I now have, about being able to get a boy or girl of my choice with over 90 percent success, when my wife and I decided it was time to have a baby. So we really din't think about it.

But if it were today, gender considerations would have come to my mind, but not for any of the reasons I had written earlier, but for medical reasons.

You see, I learned about diseases passed on through genes the painful way.

I had been selected for a prestigious position in a large organisation on the strength of my performance in a highly competetive, national wide recruitment test.
i had been given my appointment leter "subject to clearing the medical examination successfully".

Confident that I didn't have any illness that could keep me out of the job, I reached the medical examiner's office. More than half-way through the examination I was found to be colour blind, and since the recruitment rules specified "no colourblindness", I could not join the workplace I very much desired.

I had never in my life encountered any problems regarding colours, and never realised that I am colour-blind. i see three different colours at the traffic signals, but probably the colours i see are not the same as the ones you do. My red and green are probably not the same as your red and green.

I learned that colour-blindness is a handicap handed over through the generations through genes. If my grandfather carried the genes for colour blindness, my mother would receive the genes but would herself not be colour-blind, she would transmit these genes to her male children, who would then be colour-blind.So, if I were to have a daughter, the illness would pass on to my grandson through her.

Although colour-blindness is not a life threatening handicap or even one that takes off anything substantial from the quality of one's life, there are other, more incapacitating, sometimes fatal, illness like haemophilia and muscular dystrophy.There are about 350 known chromosome related illness that only male children inherit.

If there is a history of any of these illnesses in the family of either of the parents, then gender selection on the basis of medical information is not only justified and desirable, but also recommeded.

Quality of life can become an issue for both parents and child. For instance, will the child be so handicapped that he is in continual discomfort? What will happen to this child if the parents are no longer able to care for him? Will the parents' marriage weather the stress of raising a boy who will never live a normal life?

Some may accuse these couples of playing God. But then, the same accusations should be made for using contraceptives, for abortion, indeed, for any deliberate choices made in life.

We must make the choices that will make life more pleasant and stressful for ourselves and for others. Otherewise we must accept ourselves are willing pawns of fate, with no will or choice in our experiences in this world.


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