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Is it a boy or a girl? Who should (not) know children's sex and why?
  1. Daniela E Cutas1,
  2. Simona Giordano2
  1. 1Department of Health, Ethics and Society, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2CSEP/ISEI, School of Law, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniela E Cutas, Department of Health, Ethics and Society, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands; d.cutas{at}


In this paper, we present the case of a couple who refused to disclose the sex of their child to others, and some of the responses that this case prompted in the international media. We outline the ethical issues that this case raises, and we place it into the more general context of parental preferences regarding the gender (development) of their children and of the impact on children of parental choices in the matter. Based on current knowledge of gender identity development, we identify some of the potential pitfalls of such a course of action and we briefly present some alternative strategies that could be implemented in order to ensure more freedom of gender formation in children.

  • Family
  • Sexuality/Gender
  • Social Aspects

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