Gender Selection and Infertility
Some patients undergoing infertility treatment consider family balancing because they’re already undergoing IVF and want to take advantage of the option of choosing gender via PGD. According to Phyllis Martin, a licensed counselor based in Fairfax, Virginia, “Either the clock has run out or they have secondary infertility. They’re in their forties. They’re probably only going to have two children. And … they think, ‘We’d like to have one of each.’” Martin, also a board member of RESOLVE, a nonprofit patient advocacy group for infertility patients, says that many of the people she counsels about sex selection are infertility patients. They know the technology is available and they want to have that choice. They have a vision of their ideal family and they want to bring it to reality.
“Infertility robs you of so much control—and this helps give them some control,” Martin says. After going through so much, these patients want some choice in what happens in their reproductive lives. “The people I see are educated people, they are mentally healthy; they are not discriminatory. Oftentimes, they favor one sex or another because they haven’t experienced [raising] that sex.” Many older parents, and patients coping with infertility feel they have something to give to children in a different way. She says that for many family-balancing candidates, “It’s something they think about in the dark of the night.” But, she points out, it’s “not a narcissistic fantasy.” Their choices are well considered, their goals are in many ways selfless.
Going through fertility treatments for gender selection can be a tough road. Couples need to be strong, committed and supportive to get through the process. Communication is also key; expressing thoughts and feelings with each other, or with a counselor, can help couples walk through the process. Those who have taken the journey will tell you it’s worth it in the end.