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September 18, 2012

Pregnant women in Canada are supposed to get an ultrasound between 18 and 20 weeks, and so I duly booked an appointment with our favourite ultrasound clinic for 18 weeks and 5 days. Both midwife and clinic were very anxious to have me arrive prior to 20 weeks - I guess there are some things that are easiest to see during that time range.

 

I am quite aware that the main purpose of this ultrasound is to check on baby's growth, but we were very much hoping to also find out baby's gender. We like to name our children as soon as possible - those of you who like a surprise have all my respect, but I feel strongly that all people deserve a name as soon as it is possible to give them one. Turns out it's also more difficult for me to bond with a genderless infant - while I try hard not to make assumptions about Elizabeth's behaviour based solely on her gender, I do find that gender helps, particularly when child is literally inside and therefore not all that easy to observe.

 

Imagine my outrage to discover that the clinic now has a policy *not* to disclose gender prior to 20 weeks, because of "gender based abortions". Not that they mentioned this in advance or anything!

 

If baby hadn't cooperated that would have been one thing, but the ultrasound technician obviously knew the gender, so the refusal to disclose gender really annoyed me. It's particularly annoying because I was given a hard time about declining IPS "What if the baby has Down's? You won't know until it's too late to abort", but I'm not allowed to know the gender because I might abort if I don't like it? Talk about a double standard!!! Furthermore, even if gender-based abortions are really a big problem here in Ottawa, I still don't believe that this justifies withholding information from the patient.

 

Apparently some Canadian politicians think that giving out this information should be banned at all clinics and hospitals across Canada. I think that this is an extremely paternalistic attitude. Address the problem at the abortion level if necessary! If it succeeds, the result will be that women who want to know the gender will either wait until 20 weeks for this ultrasound, or they will go for extra ultrasounds. Turns out that the number of ultrasounds has risen dramatically since I had Elizabeth; our midwives say it's become quite common for them to come back "incomplete" as ultrasound clinics, due to worries about liability. No wonder our health care costs are rising!

 


1
On November 2, 2013 at 09:37 pm
Mary @ Parenthood said:
Since discovered that a gender test is available online. So blocking this at ultrasound is not preventing those who are determined not to have a girl. Meanwhile, on the flip side I met a woman who lost her little girl at the age of two and is pregnant again. I told her about my experience & she double checked with the u/s clinic - she nearly booked in too early to find out gender - clinic didn't mention it. She was very grateful to have the chance to delay; as she commented, any child is welcome but she wanted to know in order to better prepare emotionally case she needed to pull out her girl clothes.

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