Today we had the pleasure of enjoying a lunch with Dr. Mark Moore and having a chance to read his wonderful and funny little book. This is basically a funny little cartoon book that lends itself to a frank and open talk about the major plague in our world of gender selection in utero, especially against girls. Nothing is fool proof and I heard the success rate for such techniques was not great, 50:50 becoming 60:40. Dr. Moore said over lunch it was more like 80:20. Those aren’t bad odds. If you are planning your pregnancy it is likely worth the effort.
The book itself is lighthearted. It talks about the things a couple can do to influence the gender of their baby. Now I am the grandmother/step-grandmother to a total of nine lovely boys and one single girl. I love all my grandchildren, boys or girl. You get what you get and you love what you get. I would not give up one single hair on the sweet head of any of my darling boys! But I do have to admit it would have been nice to have a few more granddaughters to balance things. I have to admit that the first thing I thought when the eldest grew big enough to look down on me was ‘Oh good, now I can hope for great-granddaughters!’ Princess dresses and pink frills do give me a wistful sigh before I head off to the boy’s section.
I also have done some counselling of couples and it struck me that this book gives a couple more knowledge and control. When people have more knowledge and control, I think they are more likely to accept what they end up with in all situations but especially in the gender of their baby. Working in a genetics clinic as I did, I was a party to discussions about the ethics of informing couples about the gender of their baby when we knew the result would probably be a flying trip back to old country for the termination of a healthy fetus. I think a book like this will reduce such nonsense. Given all the terrible things that can go wrong, and seeing the agony of couples who can’t conceive, or who are hoping for a specific gender to avoid a terrible sex-linked genetic illness, I must say the mere idea of terminating a healthy normal fetus just because the gender is wrong simply makes me feel ill. So I am all for anything to prevent or reduce that possibility.
I also think that the simple easy way this book is written makes it suitable for explaining this technique (and a few other things) in a clinic to a couple whose first language is not English. It has been my experience that a vehement desire for gender selection is more common in new Canadians from other cultures. I also found that some people mistakenly think that the mother determines the gender and the mother is blamed for not producing the correct desirable gender. This is, of course, incorrect. And I have seen a father take the bad news about the gender being different from expectation with much more grace when he was told it was his own doing and not his wife’s. (I also once saw a mother-in-law cuff her son-in-law not quite gently enough for it to be a joke when the new baby was the fourth child of the same gender and while I did empathize, I did not approve.)
And so we had a very nice lunch and as you would expect, given the way the book, is written, Dr. Moore was a pleasant, kind and amusing fellow in person. And having read his book I can definitely recommend it. Best of all I got to think about my wonderful grandchildren and how very blessed I have been in the grandchild department.