Order up: A boy or girl

Friday, April 16, 2004

Money can buy just about anything and now that includes the gender of your baby. Parents no longer have to wait for the delivery room or the ultra-sound to determine if they have a Jane or a Joe.

Spreading across the Internet are gender-selection kits, which allow parents to select the sex of their baby in the comfort of their own home.

Realistically, experts say there are only two legitimate procedures (the ethical debate is still out) currently available, one involving invitro-fertilization and the other sperm sorting. (Let's not go into the visual images here.) Both procedures easily reach into the thousands of dollars.

Instead, there are now do-it-yourself kits available including GenSelect, which use "gender specific" mineral and herbal pills to choose either a boy or a girl, all for $199 -- plus shipping and handling.

According to a Associated Press story, the manufacturers claim 96 percent effectiveness "if used properly." They admit that some users don't get the gender they wanted "but virtually everyone of them didn't do it right." So it was the users' fault, rather than the maker admitting he is selling a modern version of snake oil.

In the end, these parents should just leave it in the hands of God. And who knows, they could end up with their own basketball team or tennis duo.

If you do opt to choose the sex of your baby, you had better get it right on one of your first two tries. According to a new book by Dalton Conley, parents should have no more than two children, in order to assure that said children will earn more money later in life.

His studies show that families with one or two children have more resources, time and money, to spend on each child, thus guaranteeing them future financial success. He also noted that a middle child is often neglected, doesn't have a defined role in the family and thus shouldn't be put through the paces of a large family.

O.K. Captain Obvious, let's back up.

Parents of an only-child or of only two children can obviously spend more time and money on their children, but what about all the other benefits of multiple children that money can't buy?

If not for numerous siblings, how else will they learn the true meaning of sharing, especially with their toothbrushes?

If not for numerous siblings, how else will they learn a proper headlock and body slam?

If not for numerous siblings, how else will they learn that the hot-water heater only holds so much hot water and that it runs out as soon as you have shampoo in your hair?

Of course, this is coming from a parent of five children, who is obviously beyond the point of no return on having just two children.

By the way, the author of the study looked at just the socioeconomic status of the siblings, rather than their happiness or fulfillment. He admitted in Time magazine that although he makes more money than his sister, she's a lot happier.

Finally, this last woman didn't care if she had a boy or a girl, just as long as the baby came out.

A Mexican woman is the first known person to perform her own C-section and have both the mom and the baby live.

According to a story by the Associated Press, she thought the baby was ready to come and she didn't have time to get to the hospital. This is where my notion of a delivery and her's took different paths: She took three shots of liquor and cut into her stomach. After delivering the baby, she called for help and then went for an eight-hour drive to the hospital -- yes eight-hours of bouncing around on a dirt road with your stomach cut open and newborn baby riding along -- to be stitched up.

Ignore the fact that she could have cut in the wrong spot, that she could have cut too deeply or not deeply enough, that she could have passed out in the middle of the procedure. I would have needed a lot more than three shots to give myself a C-section. In fact, there likely are not enough bottles of liquor in the town of McCook to move me to do it.

-- Ronda Graff has one girl and four boys and would like another girl, just because she has a lot of like-new, pink clothing laying around. But in the end, there's always just a 50/50 chance the next baby could be another boy -- unless she wants to dole out some big bucks.

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