Kim Kardashian West’s second pregnancy has caused a spike in interest for in vitro fertilization and gender selection procedures. Kim recently announced that she and husband Kanye West are expecting a baby boy, and reports that they deliberately chose the baby’s gender have sparked an influx of calls to The Fertility Institute.
Even though Kardashian’s representatives have denied that the couple chose to implant only male embryos during their IVF procedure, the report has caused a sudden interest in the gender selection process. Kim and Kanye may not have opted to persue the option, but many of their fans have just heard about it and are interested in trying it.
Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg of The Fertility Institue reveals that the technology has been around for about two decades. While speaking to ThinkProgress, the founder of the world-famous fertility clinic said that gender selection is not new; IVF procedures began 35 years ago. Gender selection has been brought into mass consciousness following rumors that the celebrity power couple used the option to complete their brood. The couple already has a 2-year old daughter, and a son would give them the "perfect" family unit.
“People call us up, and they can’t believe it’s available,” said Steinberg. He explained that it is not only possible to choose a baby’s gender but that the institute has started to venture into choosing actual characteristics. This has led to some debate about the ethical implications of creating what are being referred to as “designer babies.” While it is a widely accepted practice to screen for deformities and physical abnormalities, choosing a baby’s traits has led to some divisions in public opinion.
"What harm comes of this?” asked Frances Kissling of the Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy. She asks questions about the motivations of parents for choosing their baby’s gender. Is it about thinking one gender is better than the other, or is it just a question of balance?
Kim and Kanye have denied choosing their baby’s gender, but Dr. Steinberg believes that the publicity will raise more awareness about the technology. “As more and more word gets out about it, this will really set the world on fire,” he said.