Planning Baby's Sex


Most Indian families wish that they could pre-determine the sex of their baby. In most cases, they wish for a boy. The more liberated ones, are those who are planning a second child who want to have one child of each sex.


Amniocentesis is a procedure that allows prospective parents to ascertain the sex of their child before it is born. People have questioned the ethics of using amniocentesis to determine the sex of the child prior to delivery. There was even a movement to ban amniocentesis. Many couples have misused the procedure to perform selective abortion of female foetuses. At one stage in Mumbai, it was found that of 3000 consecutive abortions, all but three were female foetuses.


Biologically, Men Determine the Sex of the Child


Contrary to popular belief, it is not the woman who determines the sex of a baby. Every egg produced by the woman carries a single X chromosome. If a female sperm fertilizes the egg, the result is a baby girl. If a male sperm fuses with the woman's egg, a baby boy will be born.


When a man ejaculates, 200 to 400 million sperms are released into the woman's vagina. For conception to occur, a single sperm has to swim through the cervical mucus and mate with the ovum in the Fallopian tubes.


Is this Changing?


However, there is a section of the population that has more progressive views on the issue. For these people, the sex of the baby is immaterial. People are slowly becoming aware that women are not a drain on the family's resources just by the fact of their birth. Prejudice, ignorance and circumstances can make them that way.


Daughters do not have to be viewed as a burden. People who do not educate their daughters, who do not give them equal opportunities and who do not fight against the evils of dowry force their daughters into a position where they become a burden on the family’s resources.


It is difficult to believe that in this day and age, when women are beating men in most professions, people should still have this prejudice. People should now look at attitudinal change in themselves.