10 June 2009

Discover 'pink or blue' with a 10 minute test

Man. Everyday I think of look for things to write about for this blog, I think to myself that pregnancy is getting way too complicated.

Not only can you now find out if you are pregnant about 2 minutes after conception, have 3D ultrasounds set to lullaby music and wear organic cotton birthing wraps during labour, thanks to the brains trust at Intelligender, now you don't even have to wait to find out the sex of your future child at the second trimester ultrasound.

The Intelligender Gender Prediction Test (US$34.95) claims that you can know the 'gender' of your fetus within 10 minutes as early as 6 weeks after your first missed period through a simple urine test.

Firstly, the name of the test is actually incorrect. Sex and gender are two different things. Sex is a biological category* (male or female) and gender refers to the social constructed characteristics that make us male or female (masculinity or femininity). The company has clearly confused these definitions purposely as a way to sell women on the idea of the test as being a "fun, affordable way to discover pink or blue."

The fact that the test even exists says alot about the developed world: not only can we not wait to 'see' our foetuses until they are born given the preponderance of entertainment ultrasounds, now, as the company claims, women 'need' this test because it "bridges the curiosity gap between conception and sonogram." Seriously, since when have women been unable to wait 16-18 weeks?! Considering pregnancy is 40 weeks, 18 weeks seems like a drop in the water.

If this isn't a worrying example of immediate gratification of needs, I don't know what is. What concerns me the most about this product is 1) that if women are testing for 'gender' at 6 weeks, how will this early knowledge affect those women who have pregnancies that end in miscarriage? It seems like this might be another way that women can feel even more devastated and disappointed if their pregnancy ends in loss. 2) What awful things can happen in terms of sex-selective abortions? The fact that this product is not going to be available in India or China suggests that there is already an existing undercurrent of worry about how the product might be misused. In fact, this only gives people more, legal and socially sanctioned opportunities to abort 'undesirable' girl foetuses.

Of the gender test, I say FAIL.

*not according to Judith Butler, but that's another more complicated story.


Craving Cinnabon said...

Well first of all, none of those tests work, gender cannot be determine by urine, blood, etc. Its been a while since I last did reseach, there was one method of finding out 100% which I cant recall, but its a very expensive and dangerous procedure (maybe dna?) and then the next best thing is a 3d ultrasound but even then its not 100% we had one woman in my baby community who was so surprised she had a girl when told by the technician that it was gonna be a boy. Maybe you can do an article about the current products out there that are obvious scams. Thanks!

Craving Cinnabon said...

Oh and China banned their doctors from telling their patients the gender and now due to new goverment incentives many families are having girls and adopting girls. The trend has reversed a bit where its a bit more popular to now have a girl.

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