Wednesday, 25 April 2012

If Sex Selection Treatment Was Affordable...

I am at the age where I'm losing my friends to little people. Friends scattered across the country seem to be reproducing and I'm not. Why I'm not seems to dominate every conversation I have recently and from this familiar discussion, I've made an interesting observation.

However taboo it may be to admit to having a preference, it is widely presupposed that men want to have sons. Of course traditionally in Asian countries daughters are valued even less and China's controversial one child policy heightens the pressure to make that one count by having a son. All this comes from the days when men ruled the world and women were merely housewives whose voice shouldn't be heard. These days women can earn a crust and even be sole breadwinners, making the once disappointing prospect of daughters far less unappealing.

All these “to have” and “not to have” discussions I've been part of seem to suggest that contrary to popular belief a lot of the guys I know would prefer to have a daughter if given the option. When asked why there have been quite an array of reasons ranging from the hope of having a “Daddy's Girl” to daughters being less distant as adults and therefore more likely to stay in closer contact. Others seem to believe girls are easier to contend with than boys – those holding this belief generally don't come from a family of mixed-sex siblings (those who did quickly argued against this idea - even the females!).

Having a male child was also of course traditionally preferable in order to keep the family name going. These days more and more married women are hanging onto their “maiden” name or opting for double-barrel concoctions. This modern trend means of course it's actually more likely that having a daughter will keep the family name (and line) alive.

This very newfangled tendency for many of the males in and around my friendship groups to want daughters seems to go against the stats. The most recent study done by Gallup shows that the majority of men anonymously interviewed over the phone would prefer to have a son if they could only have one child and were given the choice. This June 2011 study was conducted in America so perhaps not a useful comparison but lacking any other recent UK-based research it will have to do:

Short of paying for controversial and expensive sex selection treatment, many of us aren't given the luxury of choice. For now, I'll sheepishly admit to having a preference for male cats but as far as babies go, I'm undecided. 

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