A growing trend — NJ parents pay $25k to guarantee a baby girl
Her entire life, Janine Tardibuono wanted a daughter.
After giving birth to her first son 10 years ago, the Bergen County resident tried all the diets, positions and homeopathic tricks in hopes that baby No. 2 would be a female.
So when she and her husband decided on having a third child, Tardibuono wanted to leave nothing to chance.
They did their research, saved a good chunk of money, and went through an in vitro fertilization (IVF) process at North Hudson IVF in Englewood Cliffs that would guarantee the gender of their next baby with the screening of embryo cells.
Of the five embryos produced, one was female. It was transferred into Tardibuono's uterus, and in July 2017, a perfectly healthy Gianna Rosalia was born.
"It was my dream," Tardibuono told New Jersey 101.5. "And now I have her."
The couple put out about $5,000 for the gender guarantee, on top of another $20,000 for IVF and related medicines.
Dr. Jane Miller, medical director at North Hudson IVF, has seen an uptick in the number of couples interested in what's commonly known as family balancing.
"I'm sure it's because the technology is safe," Miller said. "There's been so much good, solid science that's progressed what we can do in the embryo lab."
Miller noted her office also sees patients of certain cultures who "value male children" and are dealing with pressure to deliver a boy.
Beyond a gender analysis, the pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) process can check for the correct number of chromosomes within an embryo, improving the chances of a normal pregnancy and infant.
Of the PGS cycles performed by South Jersey Fertility Center, 10 percent were specifically requested for gender selection, according to the center's Dr. Lauren Weissmann.
Like Dr. Miller, she's seen an increase in patients looking to choose the sex of their child. The process, she said, also allows couples to avoid passing along certain genetic diseases.
If it weren't for this process, Tardibuono would have stopped at two children, she said. Her parents, grandparents and husband's parents were not initially on board with the move, claiming the couple was "playing with God's plans."
"But then my point was that God created these doctors and these people that do the lab work," she said. "So if God created them, then their work is good."
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.