Reality T.V. star Paris Hilton isn’t yet a mom, but she had strict ideas of what she wants her family to look like. This week Hilton, 39, announced that she’s undergoing IVF so that she can have boy-girl twins.
Harris appeared on the podcast The Trend Reporter with Mara, where she said that using assisted reproduction is the only way that she can ensure that she can have “twins that are a boy and a girl,” Scary Mommy reports.
“We have been doing the IVF, so I can pick twins if I like,” Harris said.
Let’s be honest — most people have an idea of what they want their family to look like. I always wanted my oldest to be a girl (check), followed by a boy (which didn’t happen… our second is a girl too). My husband and I have joked that if we have a third, we could do IVF to up our chances of having a boy.
But in reality, I know that I wouldn’t go through an invasive medical procedure just to get a picture-perfect family. Harris’s proclamation made me uncomfortable, because if being a mom has taught me anything, it’s that you need to be able to roll with the punches, and you certainly can’t control what happens.
Can IVF Ensure Twins?
Most people who turn to assisted reproduction do so because they’re unable to conceive on their own. However, in reality anyone who has the financial resources to pursue IVF can go that route for any reason.
During IVF, embryos are fertilized in a lab, before being implanted in the mother-to-be or a surrogate. IVF allows parents to do preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), which can detect genetic abnormalities, but will also show the biological sex of the embryo. Because of that, parents who do PGT can choose whether to implant a male or female embryo.
However, even if Harris implants a male and a female embryo, it’s no guarantee that she’ll get the boy-girl twins she wants. Each IVF cycle only has an estimated 30% success rate. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that a child’s biological sex will line up with their gender identity.
Accepting The Unexpected
My husband and I are still very much undecided about whether we want to have a third child. But if we choose to add to our family, we won’t be “trying for a boy” — we’ll be welcoming a child.
Paris Hilton has more privilege and money than most people, to say that least. But that can’t guarantee a perfect family. Kids get sick, they have unexpected conditions, they need more than we thought they might. Even if they’re healthy, every single day parenting is a chance to realize how little control you have.
To be clear — I’m not judging Hilton. I know people who have done sex selection, and if I were already doing IVF I wouldn’t say no to increasing my odds of having a son. As a society we’re going to have to have more conversations about our values around sex-selection with assisted reproduction. It would help to start by being honest about the fact that gender disappointment is real for many parents.
Still, it worries me to see a mom-to-be thinking she can cherry-pick the family she’ll have. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Hilton knows about the nuances of conceiving and parenting a tiny human (or two), but she was keeping things simple in the interview.
I hope that Hilton gets her twins — a girl named London and a yet-to-be-named little boy. But I also hope she knows that her family could take any shape, and that she’ll enjoy whatever comes.
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