Excitedly anticipating the birth of child No. 3 in the fall, Rose Costa can’t wait to pick out some pretty clothes for her long-awaited little girl.
To say that Costa is passionate about having a daughter is an understatement — the 36-year-old and her husband, Vincent, 37, have spent $100,000 on seven attempts at in vitro fertilization (IVF) to guarantee a daughter after having had two sons.
“You feel incomplete as a mother until you have a girl,” says the four-months-pregnant computer-database developer.
Costa’s decision to pick her baby’s gender is part of the controversial trend of “family balancing” — determining the sex of an embryo at the lab-dish stage before it is transferred into the woman’s uterus.
Last month, Us Weekly claimed that Kim Kardashian chose a boy as part of her IVF procedure to treat fertility issues. Though she denied the report, proud husband Kanye West will now have a son as well as a daughter, 2-year-old North, by the end of the year.
Whether or not the couple underwent the $15,000 to $25,000 process for IVF with sex selection, the speculation fueled the debate about whether the screening is ethically sound or a slippery slope toward designer babies.
“It’s the entitlement mentality in overdrive,” says Jennifer Lahl, founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, an organization that opposes the practice (though more than 160,000 IVF procedures were performed in the US in 2012, the percentage driven by sex selection, which isn’t legally regulated, is unknown).
“Children are being made-to-order like Prada handbags.”