Two in five mothers (39%) said they wished for a girl while pregnant, compared to just 18 per cent who hoped for a son. But for fathers the reverse is true, with men a whopping three times more likely to want boys. A huge 31 per cent of men expressed the preference to have sons, while only one in ten wanted a daughter.
While four in five mums (80%) said they believe it’s normal to have a preference on the gender of your child, the report revealed the subject is still strictly taboo with few families willing to admit it.
Of the 2,189 mums polled, over a third (36%) didn’t tell anyone they had a gender preference, and under half (48%) confided in their partner. Only a third (33%) admitted their feelings to their own family. However, the desire for a certain sex is so strong that only 18 per cent of mums claimed to feel ‘guilty’ for wanting their favoured gender.
The study also showed parents are now so desperate to discover their child’s gender that almost two thirds of parents (62%) find out at a scan, while only 38 per cent remain on ‘Team Yellow’ – the modern code for not finding out your baby’s gender until birth. And over a third (35%) of pregnant mums now plan ‘gender reveal’ events or parties complete with pink or blue-hued balloons and cakes.
However, a quarter of mums quizzed admitted to feeling ‘very disappointed’ if their child was the ‘wrong’ gender. (24%). Bravely, a further three per cent even admitted this affected their ability to bond with their child long-term.
This disappointment means two in five mums (41%) say they tried for second child to get ‘right’ sex, while 26 per cent opted for a third and 10 per cent kept going for four or more children. A further six per cent would even fly abroad for gender selection IVF which is currently illegal in the UK.
Worryingly, 18 per cent of families have had negative comments on the gender mix of their children, with close family and mother-in-laws most likely to make rude jibes, followed by strangers and then friends.
The study also unveiled the nation’s ideal family as one girl / one boy, voted for by 54% of mums quizzed. But 15 per cent of mums claim the growing celebrity trend to have ‘pink and blue twins’ – like Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez – is putting pressure on normal mums.
Two in five mums polled said the ‘PBT’ phenomenon is being used to make working mums to have an ‘instant family’ and take less time away from the workplace, and 15 per cent had even felt pressured to try for mixed-sex twins themselves.
But despite so many parents favouring one gender over another, surprisingly just three per cent of parents polled tried to ‘sway’ the sex of the child. The most popular method was timing sex, followed by eating a special diet and even calculating dates to conceive using astrology.
The study also revealed the most common reasons for wanting a certain sex.
- 39% of mums wish for girls compared to just 18% for boys – but dads are three times more likely to want sons
- Four in five mums say a gender preference is normal – but still taboo to talk about
- A quarter admit to feeling very disappointed if child is wrong sex, with three per cent bravely admitting it affected their ability to bond with their child
- One boy / one girl is seen as the nation’s ideal family – but 18% of families have suffered negative comments about their family’s gender mix
- Over a third of modern mums plan ‘Gender Reveal’ parties – but modern trend for instant family ‘Pink & Blue’ twins putting parents under pressure
Top Reasons for Wanting Girls
- Girls stay closer to their parents when she grows up (41%)
- Girls more fun to dress up (40%)
- Girls are better behaved (7%)
Top Reasons for Wanting Boys
- Boys are easier (14%)
- Boys are more fun to play with (9%)
- Cultural reasons (4%)
Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com said: “Boy or girl – every child is a blessing, but the issue of gender disappointment is something we need to talk about and bring into the open. With mums and dads often at odds about the gender they really want, one parent will usually end up disappointed, so we must ensure families have the support they need to bond with their baby. It’s worth remembering a child isn’t their gender – they are their own people with their own personality. So whatever the gender, let your child be who they are, not what you hoped them to be.”