Guest blogger Jessica Katz: When I get pregnant with my daughter, all I wanted was a little girl and everything pink and feminine -- and I got it. I was thrilled that my husband didn't really care either way. And we knew we would have another child. However, I have several friends who are talking about spinning their sperm -- well, their husbands' sperm -- to ensure the sex of their next baby.
MicroSort is a technique for separating X and Y sperm, with a success rate of 91 percent for a girl and 76 percent for a boy. This is the only method proven to effectively sort X and Y sperm, and is available only in the U.S.
My friends who are thinking about this have two boys and want to ensure that the third child is a girl. They are hesitant to even have a third if they can't guarantee a girl -- three boys appears to be a lot to handle!
I had never thought of doing this. I guess I'd always thought I would take what nature gave me -- but then again, I got my girl. My main concern was about the sorted sample used to get pregnant: It's inserted via either artificial insemination (IUI) or in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
And since my husband and I had no trouble getting pregnant on our own, the thought of going through IUI or IVF was not appealing.
On top of that, the sorting process isn't perfect. After an XSort, 10 percent of the sorted sample, on average, will consist of unwanted Y sperm. After a YSort, 24 percent of the sorted sample, on average, will consist of unwanted X sperm. This means that although your odds of having the desired gender have been drastically and reliably improved over nature, it is still possible to have the opposite of what you want. And although this is uncommon, yes, it does happen.
Also, the process is costly: roughly $7,000. That's a lot of money, especially considering that you are not guaranteed the desired result.
But the question I hear most is, "Are we messing with nature? Should we just be grateful to be pregnant and have a healthy baby, no matter what the sex may be?"
When my mom was pregnant, she would always say, "I don't care what it is, as long as it is healthy." I thought she was being so PC: Of course you care. You have to have a preference! However, she had two girls and two boys, so perhaps not. I am sort of indifferent as far as my second pregnancy goes, because I've already gotten my girl.
So many things can go wrong just having a baby that the idea of messing with the sperm prior to conception scares me. It is already such a fragile process. Every screening and ultrasound and blood test proves that. And I am not sure there's enough data to show the long-term effects of this process (if any).
If people can't conceive on their own, I am all for them doing whatever they can to have a baby. But if it's just a matter of pink or blue, should we really be playing God?