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     October 06,  2015

Detail

 

SHOULD BABY’S GENDER BE DISCLOSED DURING ULTRASOUND TO PREGNANT WOMEN

BY: MARIA MANSOOR ALI GHAZIANI

Pregnancy is one of the most enjoyable and sensitive moments in a woman’s life. Having a baby is an exciting time, and finding out about the baby's gender is often a parent's prime query. Now a day’s the use of ultrasound, which is a non-invasive way to monitor the growth, development and health of a fetus, is being abused to check for fetal gender. As we live in a society where children of female gender are shunned upon and the ultimate desire is to give birth to a son, mothers that come to know that they have a baby girl often endure abuse during pregnancy. I prefer that the baby’s gender should not be disclosed because ultrasounds not only reveal baby’s sex but also cause other unintended circumstances such as: prenatal depression, sex selection abortion; threats of divorce or abandonment; and withholding of food, water, rest and medical care.

Firstly, that a baby's gender should not be revealed to a pregnant women during ultrasound because pregnancy is the period in which bonding occurs between the mother and the baby and by revealing the gender we bring the emotional disturbances that can lead to maternal depression. Maternal depression interferes with adequate blood flow to the placenta, which negatively impacts the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the unborn child. According to Akchurin. W,& Kartzke. R. (n.d.), babies born to depressed mothers often demonstrate depressive behaviors after birth (eg, lethargy, difficulty feeding, and irritability). They may also have difficulties such as self-quieting, low tone, abnormal reflexes, and orientation. Moreover, these early difficulties can undermine the development of the mother-child relationship. Many cultures and traditions consider woman responsible for giving birth to a girl and these practices continually prioritize having a male child. By revealing the gender during ultrasound the mother could fall into severe depression.

Secondly, a mother should not be informed about the baby’s gender during ultrasound because the child’s and the mother’s life are at risk. Male children are preferred especially as the first children and if this preferential bias is not fulfilled parents attempt to terminate the child. They may resort to illegal abortions that harm society and the family themselves. This will lead to an increase in the abortion rate. The abortion rate is a statistical data that is quite descriptive of our perspectives on baby gender bias. According to the report by CNN called “Killing of infants on the rise in Pakistan“, (2011) show that roughly nine out of 10 newborns killed is females. Furthermore, majority of people in certain societies feel no regret when killing the unborn female fetus. They do it just for the sake of having a baby boy who would carry their family’s name forward. In the patriarchal family; males are considered more important because only they can succeed the family name. According to Baloch,S. (2001) in The EXPRESSTRIBUNE, at least 890,000 abortions take place in Pakistan which means that every sixth pregnancy results in abortion. The unborn female baby regardless of its gender should have the right to live and explore the world.

Finally, the information regarding sex should not be disclosed because it brings negative family dynamic that leads to gender discrimination through physical abuse and neglecting related specifically to their failing to produce a male child. The society in which we live is highly stigmatized for female children and the roots may belong to dominancy or inherits of wills towards the male children. According to The Edhi Foundation, in Pakistan more than a thousand infants were killed last year and forty babies were found dead in garbage dumps and sewers. The rate of female infanticide has risen in Pakistan and it is believed that poverty is one of the main factors behind this depressed reality. Because several women are not endorsed to work and become the ‘financial responsibility’ of fathers and husbands, girls are seen as a ‘greater economic burden’. The discrimination results in threats of divorce, abandonment and violence (including being kicked in the abdomen) and unfortunately the marriage sare often terminated.

Whereas some parents will argue that knowing the gender of an unborn child will help them plan accordingly. Families would like to paint their rooms, buy clothes, and toys etc. before the birth of their child. They claim that withholding information violates their parental rights. This autonomy should therefore be granted so plans could be made for the upcoming baby. Woman should have the freedom to make decision pertaining to her reproductive choices and exercise the option to abort. Parents find it easier to select only one name, rather than one for each gender. In addition, some parents feel that abortion helps parents avoid the unwanted babies and enables the families to plan accordingly. The most notable reason for gender identification is “family harmonizing” purposes. Most parents desire of raising both a son and a daughter. They further argue that hiding the information does not alleviate the discrimination since similar discrimination can occur after the birth. Concealing the information before hand will only exacerbate the circumstances; prior disclosure helps develop a balanced family and creates a preferred family dynamic.

I believe that by withholding the gender information we enable the mother to have a healthy child. Pregnancy is a natural reproductive occurrence thus no single argument of reproductive freedom can justify endangering another’s ora child’s health. Moreover sex selective abortion is the clearly discrimination. It is injustice to society; it creates sex ratios that are imbalanced and promotes the killing of particular child on the basis of sex. The unborn baby should have, as most of us do, the rights to live a happy and productive life. Therefore, this information should remain intact and more focus should be given on mother and child health rather than the gender identification. According to Maher, J. M. (2010) Family balancing is truly unfair with the unborn baby and mother itself, although the discriminative behavior within the family may take long time to resolve but by hiding information we ensure women to have peaceful journey of pregnancy. I think it shouldn’t be that big of a deal if it will be a boy or a girl. Just be pleased that the baby is hale and hearty. Wait till the completion of your pregnancy for the wonder and appreciate the pregnancy without anxiety or stress.

It is very necessary that ultrasound technology during pregnancy should be used for the medical purposes rather than gender disclosure. We have discussed that the misuse of this technology that can lead to unsafe environment for mothers, unborn babies, and families. Therefore, such practices should be discouraged in light of the mother’s safety, child’s wellbeing and nature’s balance. Further I believe, we as health care providers have the obligation to identify and educate couples or families within our surroundings. The consequences of such practices can help make pregnancy a smooth and pleasant experience. I would conclude that gender of the baby should remain confidential for the sake of mothers, families, family dynamic, a nations abortion rates, and for girls!

 

 

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