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Some expectant parents are eager to find out their baby's gender, while others are inclined toward wanting to be surprised once the baby is delivered. There’s really no right or wrong way to decide on this issue. It’s a matter of personal opinion and often strongly held feelings. Yet if you’re on the fence about whether you should find out the baby's gender, you can look at the pros and cons of knowing and not knowing.
When you’re expecting you may want to know the baby's gender so you can best prepare for having a boy or a girl (or both if you’re carrying twins). If you really want to decorate a gender specific room, knowing the baby's gender helps you plan ahead. You can communicate this information to friends who want to give you gender specific clothing.
Not knowing may mean you get a lot of gender non-specific clothing in light mint colors and in yellows. If they aren’t your favorite colors, then perhaps knowing the sex of the baby is important. Alternately, if you already have a child, knowing the sex of the baby can tell you whether you’ll be able to use your older child’s baby clothes or need to start shopping.
On a more serious note, some illnesses may be specific to gender. If you have genetic illnesses in your family background that are gender linked, you may need to know the baby’s gender in order to prepare for a child who might be ill. Knowing the sex of your child can help you determine if you need further genetic or prenatal testing.
Additionally, if you’re truly set on having a baby of a certain sex, knowing the baby’s gender can be important. This way, if the baby is not the sex you would have chosen on your own, you’ll have time to adjust and appreciate, or even mourn. While most parents would never admit wanting one sex child over another, many do have a leaning in a certain direction. It’s a good idea to rid yourself of any disappointment you might feel at not having your wishes gratified when the baby is delivered.
It’s important to note that some parents still get surprised on delivery day. A baby that looked like a boy/girl on an ultrasound may still turn out to be the opposite sex. Usually confirmation of gender is only 100% when women undergo amniocentesis or other sampling of amniotic fluids, and these tests have risks that you may not want to undertake.
Parents who don’t want to know their baby’s gender may simply want to be delightfully surprised. Others do ultrasounds, which are pretty common, but don’t want to confirm gender by undergoing more invasive testing. Even if moms do need amniocentesis or other more invasive tests, they may still not want to know.
With the exception of determining a baby's gender for the purpose of screening for gender specific inherited illnesses, some parents argue strongly against knowing baby’s gender. They suggest that such knowledge may lead to sex selection, or sex selective abortions. It is true that in parts of the world, such as China, where one sex is preferred over another, higher abortion rates of girls are very common, especially since China has a one-child policy.
Lastly, sometimes a couple differs on whether they want to know the baby’s sex. In this case, talk to your doctor beforehand if one parent wants to “know” so that such information can be revealed to one parent and not the other. Make sure to remind the doctor after ultrasound visits if you don’t want to know, so the doctor doesn’t accidentally let it slip.
The decision about one parent knowing should be based on how good that parent is at keeping a secret and not dropping hints. If the parent isn’t good at it, then maybe not knowing for both parents is the best way to go. Further, in matters regarding pregnancy, partners should politely refer to the pregnant partner’s wishes regarding the question of knowing or not knowing.
Hey, I ordered your book from Amazon and thought it was quite compelling! Helped me understand what my sister must be going through. She has five boys! Best of luck with it.
This is fascinating to me. After three boys I was desperate to have a daughter. I even wrote a book about it called Lullabies & Alibis, basically the lengths one woman goes to so she can conceive a daughter.