Some hospitals across Scotland have decided they will no longer reveal the baby’s gender at routine pregnancy scans. For decades, women have been able to determine whether they are having a boy or a girl at the standard 20-week scan. So, why are some hospitals choosing to stop revealing gender?
Here, we’ll look at the reasons behind the sudden change and the options women have if they still want to know the sex before baby is born.
Why are some hospitals choosing not to perform a gender scan?
The decision to stop revealing baby’s gender has been made by some hospitals due to the fear over legal action if the prediction is wrong. A total of 4 out of 14 NHS boards including Orkney, Grampian, Shetland and Forth Valley, no longer offer gender reveal.
Hospital sources revealed that this was partly down to the threat of legal action when the gender turned out to be wrong. There have also been cases where sonographers have been verbally abused when they haven’t been able to detect baby’s gender during the scan. This has led to the hospital policy being changed in the hope staff will no longer have to go through potential abuse if they can’t get a clear image of baby.
However, although it has only recently come to light, these Scottish NHS hospitals have actually avoided revealing baby’s gender for many years now. The NHS Forth Valley for example, claims its sonographers don’t routinely tell patients the sex of their baby, and that has been their policy for more than ten years now. The only time the gender would be revealed is if it was required for clinical purposes.
The trouble with early ultrasound scans is that they can’t always provide a clear picture of baby. So, it isn’t always possible to determine the sex during the routine scan.
Is withholding baby’s gender the right thing?
The media coverage surrounding the decision to avoid revealing baby’s gender has led to a lot of heated debate. Is it right to withhold baby’s gender? Perhaps what would be more beneficial, would be if patients were informed about the risks of the gender reveal being wrong. Many don’t understand that early ultrasound scans cannot always determine baby’s sex.
There has also been some coverage that revealing baby’s gender may lead to more terminations. However, this is only really an issue in countries where cultural beliefs may come into play. In the UK, gender selection isn’t as prevalent as it is in many other parts of the world. So, the decision not to reveal baby’s gender may be a little unfair for patients, but it’s certainly understandable from the hospital’s point of view.
Patients who have been refused to find out the sex of their baby do have other options. A private gender reveal scan can show you whether or not you are having a boy or a girl. The cost isn’t as expensive as you might think, and you’ll also be able to choose whether you want a 3D or 4D scan.