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Is it legal and ethical to select the sex of our child?

Q: Ours is a nuclear middle class family with me (aged 30 years), my wife (aged 30 years) and our daughter (aged 4 years). I am into a job that requires frequent travelling and transfers every four years. My wife is working part-time as a teacher. My daughter goes to a play way school and later to a neighbourhood crèche. Our monthly household income and savings are Rs.25,000 and Rs.5,000 respectively. Should we go in for a second child? Will it help in better psychological and social development of our existing child? Are two kids better than one? Although we have nothing against the girl child and give very good grooming to our daughter, both my wife and I wish to have a son to make the family complete as a unit. Is this wish selfish or bad? Can we select the sex of the second child and is it legal and ethical?

A:It is quite normal for parents want to have one boy and one girl. However, if you mean by sex selection, getting the mother to abort a female fetus, it is unethical. Some people adopt a child of the other sex, to take care of this issue. But that is also not a very easy option. A lot of people believe that only children tend to get lonely and that having a sister or brother makes it more pleasant in every way. This is a matter for the parents to decide. I have met only children who are sociable and are close to cousins and school friends and also only children who are spoilt and self-indulgent. I have come across persons who, as children, had to share everything and resented it, or were disgusted with always being compared to a sibling. I have also seen families, which have a lot of fun with two or more children, and there is a strong brother-sister bond. In real life, there is no single or simple formula that works for everyone. I think it is wise on your part to consider your financial and family assets. Here again, affordability is a matter of perspective. Also, the mother may have to take off from work for two or three years, if you plan another child. Many young couples seem to depend on the grandparents to take the responsibilities of child care, but there is no guarantee that they will be continuously available or have the energy for the task.

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