From cave dwellers to Generation X’ers, couples have tried numerous techniques to influence their babies’ gender. From intercourse under a full moon, to making love with one testicle tied, couples have tried to outsmart Mother Nature. But until the past decade, Nature has remained firmly in control of gender selection.
A baby’s gender has meant much to people throughout history. Having many sons reflected a man’s virility, a family’s status in a tribe. And it still does in some societies. At the heart of this desire to influence an baby’s gender are cultural, legal, and economic motivations.
Most cultures have preferred boy babies. This stems from our early ancestors’ need to survive nature’s perils with brute force. Since men possessed more muscle and mass, men, and by extension, boy babies, were valued more. As societies evolved, so did their laws, which favored men. Sons inherited their families’ property, wealth and businesses, daughters could not. Sons carried on the family name, daughters did not.
Today, while much as changed, some cultures still prefer male babies. However, statistics from U.S. and Canadian fertility clinics show a preference for females.
Gender selection methods have also changed. Today we have reliable technology that help couples choose their baby’s gender:
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Performed after conception in a lab (IVF), PGD can predict with 99.9% accuracy whether an embryo is male or female.