Eenie, Meenie, Minie ... Oh No!

March 25, 2008 09:00 AM
Gender-selection has frequently made news headlines, particularly when it is related to some new fangled gizmo that is designed to help a couple "get" the exact child they are seeking. If they want a boy they can do one thing; if they want a girl they can do something else. The early gender detection tests such as the Baby Gender Mentor from Acu-Gen are an extension of this premise.

The problem, as reported by the news, seems to be that the test is not always accurate, and some parents who have delivered a child not of the gender "promised" to them are mad enough to sue—in fact they are suing.

The Knoxville News Sentinel recently told the story of one couple who were positive, after having spent $300 on the test, that when the time came for the baby to be born, they would welcome the boy they knew was waiting within his mother’s womb. So their shock was obvious when the doctor delivered a baby girl. As the father told the media, "I couldn’t fathom how it could be wrong."

One could say that this couple, like several others, put too much trust in a genetic testing package and not enough in the age-old idea of waiting to be surprised by the little person who makes his or her entrance on his birth day. There was a time when parents could not have conceived of the possibility of being able to select the gender of a baby they wanted, or aborting a baby who did not pan out to be of the chosen gender.  But times have changed.

As one mom told the reporter, "I wouldn’t have had an abortion, but there are women out there who experience really big disappointment. They really want to give their husbands the little boy they want, or a little girl, and they will abort based on these results."  If I had not read that statement myself and realized what this young mother was discussing, I would have thought for sure she was talking about choosing the right color for a dress or a pair of socks rather than of a baby whose gender, in a right-thinking society,  should be irrelevant .

But as if the whole idea of wanting to select a baby’s gender in advance isn’t odd enough on its own, we now find that there are sixteen mothers who have joined together to sue Acu-Gen Biolab in Lowell, Massachusetts because the test failed to "determine the sex of their embryos as promised."

Each of the women is claiming that the test came with a "money back guarantee" and that when the test turned out not to be 99 percent accurate, the company would not honor the guarantee. The lawsuit "seeks an injunction prohibiting Acu-Gen from falsely marketing the kit and test and ordering it to honor its money-back guarantee. It also seeks restitution for all women who purchased the test."

Now, if you have a moment, please think about this. First of all, should "money back guarantees" have anything at all to do with the entire mystery and miracle of conceiving a baby? Are we talking about trading in a defective toaster rather than the act of co-creating a baby with God?

Second, what is the thought process of a mother and father who are dissatisfied with the result of their procreative act? Isn’t it any longer a blessing to give birth to a baby, regardless of gender?

And tell me this: Will the baby ever learn as a young child that he was really a failure of some genetic test and that his parents really always wanted someone of a different gender? Could that entire scenario be harmful to the child in some way?

This entire matter seems so macabre to me, and yet we do live in a society that, with the passing of each day, becomes more and more in tune with the idea that human beings are mere objects to be accepted, rejected or somehow relegated to a trash heap if not as convenient as was hoped. This is why abortion occurs. This is why birth control is taken. This is why the elderly die prematurely from all manner of difficulties including neglect and starvation.

We have gotten to a point in this ever-growing culture of death where even the most simple intrigue, such as waiting until a baby is born to find out who he or she is, has become too bothersome. We want to plan for every eventuality. We want to select gender as one might select a firm watermelon, and we want to send back those who are no longer suitable to our lifestyle or too expensive to maintain. We have lost our ability to see our fellow human beings as blessings. We have even gotten to the point where, as these stories make perfectly clear, we are willing to reject our own flesh and blood, complaining because we did not get precisely what we wanted.

We are becoming a nation filled with spoiled, demanding, pompous individuals with no capacity for true, genuine love for anyone other than ourselves, unable to conceive of anything but our own desires.
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