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Friday 30 July 2010


My heart did a little flip when I was on http://www.thepunch.com.au/ just now. I randomly came across a blog post written in reply to my blog post for The Punch on choosing the gender of your baby. In the first few paragraphs, this writer mentions my name. A lot. And I thought, that's it - I am getting dissed (I can't think of a better word than that right now, although I do know I sound all silly faux-ghetto).

Turns out, the writer - Tim Cannon from the Australian Family Association - didn't personally attack me (which was a nice change from some nasty peeps on my original blog post), but he did disagree with me. Which is fine.

But he is not that woman in the news who has three boys and wants a girl - and is willing to pay for it. Hang on, he doesn't even have kids yet. He purports to understand the drive for gender selection. Exhibit A:

"Sex-selection is just the next step in parents being picky about what kind of child they’d be willing to love. By specifying which sex they’d like, parents turn their children into items on a bucket list."

What kind of child, you say? How many types are there, Tim? Let me answer: boy or girl. Boy and girl. Two boys, five girls. Six girls, no boys. Are we talking about choosing their personality? Eye colour? Whether they have learning difficulties? No, Tim. That, my friend, is the surprise package you and many people insist is being tampered with. That remains intact, left up to chance, the universe, genes, karma, God - take your pick. No, we are talking about... hang on, I'll let someone who has actually gone through the gender selection process speak:

"Tim, what are you talking about? Sex selection does nothing but alter random chance. It doesn’t change a child, or the fact that a baby is to be born, it only changes the fact that the baby will be a certain sex. Is this a problem? As a couple who have already used this technology legally overseas, (and I don’t class my husband and I as selfish by any means), I cannot understand how you came to this conclusion. FYI, as our sex selection doctor put it “the cost of the procedure will self regulate the balance and no overbalance would take place”. Only people who can afford the expense will do it and people who are more educated about the process will choose to have more children if they know what they are getting. So Tim, before you choose to call this procedure selfish, please write an article actually explaining the processes involved before the final stage of choosing a child's sex, and I would be very surprised if you still called this process selfish. Do not judge others on a final decision, until you understand the journey involved."

That's all I am saying people.

That comment was published on The Punch by a woman called JA, in response to Tim's blog. I replied to her comment.

Here is what I said:

"Thanks for writing this piece, Tim - I am all for expressing one's opinion.
But even more thanks to JA. Hello again, JA. You were one of the few people who gave a real-life account on why she underwent this procedure on my original blog. Yes, I am Josie, the author of the piece Tim refers to.

I was at pains to explain in some of my comments on my blog post that unless I was in that woman's shoes (the woman who sparked the entire debate), I had no right to judge.

We can harp on all we want about it being selfish, and China, and playing God, but do you think she cares? We are not her; we are not the ones who cannot let go of that burning desire. It is HER life, not ours.

As you so wisely point out JA (you are, after all, the only one on this post who has actually gone through the procedure and know what it involves, and actually explain what lead you to do it) not everyone will take up this option to choose the gender of their child.

I will say again - I did not choose the gender of my twins. I didn't even choose to have twins. I did not know the gender of my twins until I delivered them. Were we thrilled? What do you think? But I also get a little embarrassed when people fuss too much about "hitting the jackpot". I was thrilled to even be pregnant - anything else was a bonus.

Would I choose the gender of my next baby? No. Quite simply, I don't desire to choose. And I think we are done, too. Oh, and I couldn't afford it anyway. But I support women like you, JA who want to use what medical science provides us. Remember folks, it is a choice. Why should you dictate what JA does with her life? It is none of your business. Or mine. I like to stand up for people's causes even when they are clearly not my own. But I don’t particularly enjoy being whipped for it on my post (not here, but on my original post… oh yes). But hey, you get that in blog-world. By the way, I am also being supportive to a friend who is having very serious fertility issues. You reckon she might want to choose? Yeah, I am thinking not. See, context. I get it. Perspective. I have it. Each person’s life choices are different. And you do not know the journey they took to get there. How about learning to respect what people choose instead of judging. Trust me, it’s very liberating."

Tim also adds more thoughts in his blog:

"Unfortunately modern reproductive technology is feeding an attitude which is totally at odds with the selflessness good parenting demands. Already we exercise obsessive control over the “how” and the “when” of conception and childbirth through contraception, IVF and abortion. We’ll have a child when it suits us, thank you very much."

Oh, okay. So let's scrap contraception and go back to having loads of kids we can't afford. And definitely yes, let's also ditch IVF... because, you know, giving hope to women who have fertility issues absolutely reeks of, what is it called, Tim? "Obsessive control." And abortion? Not even gonna touch that one.

Ah yes, opinions. Everyone's got one.


  1. Seriously get a grip Tim .... Time and man kind has moved on - did I choose to have a girl and then a boy no !! did I choose to have a neuro-typical (that's normal for some) and a child with Aspergers - No!! but would I change any of it - not for a minute ! But I also don't condemn choice - a basic human right in our country. So Tim would I choose (if I should ever have another child) to pick the sex - no, BUT I don't deny any parent that right. It's not my choice BUT they have the right to their choice. Tim - "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire

  2. Ah, Leah! This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about! It's all about choice - and the right to exercise that choice. Not everyone will take up the opportunity to choose the sex of their baby... some people like the concept of chance, and the surprise element, and having a house full of one gender. But for some people who feel they cannot live without experiencing what it's like to raise the gender they don't have - it's a dream come true. Why should this woman be denied that? This is the last taboo in parenting - openly discussing that yes, they were disappointed when their fourth boy was born (but no, of course they wouldn't swap it for the world). Why do you think there are so many websites promoting ‘natural’ ways to guarantee a boy or girl? Plenty of people are doing it – nobody really wants to talk about it or admit it. It’s that hypocritical thing I cannot deal with. Just let this woman do what she wants. She isn’t hurting anybody! Again, not everyone will use this technology - but for those who can't afford or don't want to 'keep trying' until they get their boy or girl, it's a brilliant advancement.