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Danielle Lloyd has defended her decision to choose the sex of her next baby, despite criticism over the gender selection procedure that is illegal in the UK.
The mum-of-four, who recently gave birth to her fourth son, Ronnie, opened up about her plan to ensure her next child is a girl in an interview with Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live.
The model and reality TV star said she was so desperate to have a daughter she will go ahead with plans to travel abroad so that she can select the gender of her next baby.
“It’s always been my dream to have a little girl,” she said. “It’s about having that mix and bringing up a little girl. I know she might not be ‘girlie’ – she probably won’t be with four brothers – but it’s just about having a little mini-me almost.”
As the controversial procedure is currently illegal in the UK, unless the reason for doing so is due to a genetic condition, the 33-year-old is planning to travel to Cyprus to visit a specialist clinic there.
Danielle isn’t the only celebrity to openly discuss having the procedure in order to have a certain gender, previously, Chrissy Teigan, who is now pregnant with her second child with husband John Legend, revealed she had undergone the process.
The model and presenter has always been open about the IVF process that lead to bringing her daughter Luna into the world, including her choice to opt for gender selection in order to have a girl.
“It excited me to see… just the thought of seeing him with a little girl. I think he deserves a little girl. I think he deserves that bond.
At the time she also alluded to the fact that the couple would also be keen to have a son too.
“A boy will come along. We’ll get there too, so it’s not like we really have to pick. But he definitely is very lucky to have a little girl.”
What exactly is gender selection? And how does it work?
According to parenting site Netmums the most common way for sex selection to be carried out is through preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). A woman has IVF and then tests are carried out on the genetic makeup of each embryo to see if it’s male or female.
Some clinics also use Microsort ‘sperm sorting’ technology. This means a sperm sample is tagged with dye and then passed through a laser beam. The technology means it’s able to distinguish between X (female) and Y (male) sperm.
The procedure is illegal in the UK unless there are serious medical reasons – for example, you or your partner being a carrier for a genetic disease that affects only boys.
So anyone wanting to pick the sex of their child has to go abroad, like Danielle, to Europe or America where it’s legal. But it doesn’t come cheap.
According to Netmums at the Rainsbury clinic one cycle costs upwards of £10,500, while the cost of one round of sex selection IVF at the Fertility Institutes in New York is around £13,500.
Despite the hefty price tag, the gender selection trend does appear to be on the rise.
Recent figures, provided to Yahoo Style UK by Dr Daniel Potter from a US fertility clinic, have revealed that the number of UK women travelling across the pond to the US for it has risen by 20 per cent each year.
Meanwhile Paul Rainsbury who runs the Rainsbury Clinic, which offers sex selection treatment in Europe, told Netmums: “The amount of people contacting us has trebled in the past year, approaching a couple of hundred this year.”
While those in favour of the process argue it is merely a case of balancing families, critics argue that gender selection is no different to the concept of having a designer baby.
But the fact is that for some parents, gender disappointment can be all too real.
A recent new survey by parenting site ChannelMum.com has revealed that a quarter of mums in the UK admit to feeling ‘disappointed’ if their child isn’t the gender they hoped for.
This disappointment means two in five mums (41%) say they tried for second child to get the ‘right’ sex, while just over a fifth (26%) tried for a third and one in ten going for four or more children. A further 6% would even consider flying abroad for gender selection IVF.
Speaking of the findings Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com said she believed it was important parents feel able to talk about issues of gender disappointment.
“Boy or girl – every child is a blessing, but the issue of gender disappointment is something we need to talk about and bring into the open,” she said.
“With mums and dads often at odds about the gender they really want, one parent will usually end up disappointed, so we must ensure families have the support they need to bond with their baby.”
Parenting forums can be a good place to openly discuss feelings of disappointment, but Siobhan Freegard also believes that understanding a child is not defined by their gender can help parents overcome the sense of loss.
“It’s worth remembering a child isn’t their gender – they are their own people with their own personality. So whatever the gender, let your child be who they are, not what you hoped them to be.”
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