Monday, February 28, 2011


I’ve discovered recently that most people have a strong opinion one way or the other when it comes to finding out the sex of your baby. Invariably a short while after getting the question “How far along are you?” someone will ask Hannah, “Are you going to find out the sex?”

Eventually, everyone finds out the sex of their child. I don’t anticipate waking up one day and saying, “Hannah, our kid is about to start school on Monday, maybe we should ask the doctor if it’s a boy or a girl.” The real issue is not if, but when. And that, for many people, has become an ethical choice.

This morning my wife had three cereals on the table when I finally lumbered out of bed, and I could decide on Frosted Mini-Wheats, Frosted Mini-Wheats with fruit in the middle, or Life cereal. When I grabbed the Life cereal, I was delighted that she didn’t look at my bowl and mutter, “Heathen.”

That was merely my preference. I could have just as easily picked the Frosted Mini-Wheats. But finding out the sex of your as-yet-unborn baby is not a matter of preference, but ethics. If I find out at week 20, I have committed the following sins:
1)      Peeking. Like when my older sister took me on a raid of my parent’s bedroom one year to look for Christmas presents, this is just wrong.
2)      Faithlessness. As if God doesn’t know the sex of my baby? Can’t I trust Him to care for it, grow it, and bring the pregnancy to completion without having to have all the facts?
3)      Dullness. Didn’t God weave some mystery and suspense into the whole process called pregnancy and childbirth? Deuteronomy says, “The hidden things belong to the LORD your God.” That includes the gender of my as-yet-unborn child.

But there’s another side to this ethical dilemma. There are plenty of people on the other bandwagon ready to pounce on the sin of not finding out. Here are their reasons:
1)      Irresponsibility. If I could find out 20 weeks (~4½ months) before my child is born, I could register for all the best boy or girl clothes, toys, pillows, towels, diapers, cribs, high chairs, etc. way in advance. My child should not have to suffer a gender identity crisis the first few months after its introduction to the world.
2)      Uncaring. Do I really want to tell my child, “When I started dating Mommy, I wanted to find out everything I could about her. When I found out you were coming, I decided to pass on the details?”  I don’t think so.

To answer the question, “Are you going to find out the sex?” the answer is “Yes.” Hannah and I are going to go in for that ultrasound and find out the gender (assuming our as-yet-unborn child isn’t shy). We didn’t decide to go this route because we don’t trust God, and we didn’t pick it because we think it is wrong to wait until approximately 2 seconds after delivery. We just want to know.

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