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Simpson and her husband talked about getting an abortion, but she decided to continue with the pregnancy.
The Web forums mentioned a technique offered in the United States that would guarantee her next baby would be a girl. The conventional wisdom has always been this: Given a choice, couples would prefer sons.Desperate for a baby girl, Simpson and her husband drove four hours to a fertility clinic in Michigan.Gender selection is illegal in Canada, which is why the couple turned to the United States.They paid 0 for a procedure that sorts sperm based on the assumption that sperm carrying a Y chromosome swim faster in a protein solution than sperm with an X chromosome do.Simpson was inseminated with the slower sperm that same day.Fifteen weeks later, she asked a colleague at the hospital to sneak in an after-hours ultrasound.
The results felt like a brick landing on her stomach: another boy.
“I lay in bed and cried for weeks,” said Simpson, now 36, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy.
She took a job in the operating room so she would no longer have to work with women who were giving birth to girls.
It would cost tens of thousands of dollars, money Simpson and her husband did not have. That has certainly been the case in places like China and India, where couples have used pregnancy screening to abort female fetuses.
But in the United States, a different kind of sex selection is taking place: Mothers like Simpson are using expensive reproductive procedures so they can select girls.
Just over a decade ago, some doctors saw the potential profits that could be made from women like Simpson—an untapped market of young, fertile mothers.