‘Consider a trade?’: IVF mom tries to swap embryo daughter for a boy

IVF sperm donor

There is already plenty of evidence to show that in vitro fertilization, or IVF, has led to the commodification of children. An article published in the New York Post is certain to fan those flames. A mother named Lisa explained that she is looking to trade her last remaining embryo with another mother — simply because the embryo is female instead of male.

The mother, “Lisa,” explained that her five-year-old son desperately wants a brother, not a sister, because a brother will be someone he can share a room with, go to soccer games with, and cheer on the Boston Red Sox with. “I’m doing this for my son,” she said. “My husband grew up with sisters and wants a boy too. This is the way we want to complete our family.”

Lisa said her daughter is the last embryo she has remaining after going through multiple rounds of IVF.

READ: Volume discounts and deals: Why IVF now looks a lot like a trip to Costco

She reached out to IVF groups on Facebook, writing, “Hello, we have been trying to give my child a sibling for three years… we want to complete our family with a son. We have a great quality female embryo. Would you like to consider a trade?” While most people expressed outrage, and her plea was even removed from one group, one woman in California showed interest in the trade. “She already has a toddler, and she has two male embryos left over,” Lisa explained. “Her husband… has six sons from another marriage and then they have a boy together. Her husband said: ‘If we are going to go through this again, it’s going to be a girl!’”

Both women have their children frozen at IVF storage centers.

Lisa and her husband began their IVF process in 2012 when they spent $15,000 to create four embryos — four children. They implanted one, and had their son, who quickly began asking for a brother. “He’s our world and a beautiful child,” Lisa said. “But, as soon as he could talk, he was asking for a sibling. Every time he sees other kids — there’s a lot in our family and in our neighborhood — he is like: ‘He has a brother. Why don’t I have a brother?’ And I’m like: ‘Don’t make it any harder on me than it already is.’ He has no idea.”

After several unsuccessful IVF attempts with other male embryos, they tried again, and froze their daughter. Altogether, they have spent over $45,000 on IVF and pay $1,000 a year to to keep the embryo frozen. And they say that their financial situation also is a factor in their decision to trade their daughter for a son. “Economically, it makes sense for us to have a boy,” Lisa said. “We have a two-bedroom house with no space for a third bedroom. We bought it when Daniel was an infant, and now prices have risen so much in this neighborhood. There is no way we could afford [a separate bedroom for a girl]. We’d have to move to Nebraska.” They claim that adoption is too expensive.

READ: Former IVF doctor: Children are viewed as “manufactured” goods

Disturbingly, Lisa seems to understand completely that she sees her child as nothing more than a product to be bought… and sold. “I made up my mind as a reaction to losing the $12,000. Now I have a commodity — something I can leverage,” she admitted.

This is the dark, yet unsurprising, reality of what IVF has become. It is the ultimate dehumanization of children, with people turning embryos into jewelry, or aborting them because the baby has a disability, or become pawns in custody battles. And when it comes to gender, little girls are often the unwanted ones, as parents around the world refuse to let go of their preference for boys.

“Lisa’s” story shows just how far our twisted view of preborn children has become. No longer do we accept their humanity. Instead, they are just things we can create at will, and then throw away when they’re not wanted.

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