Rose Costa went through seven rounds of IVF for $100,000, despite having no fertility issues, in order to conceive a girl after having two sons. And, she tells Yahoo Parenting, “It’s been worth all the money we spent.” (Photo: Shannon Faulk)
Throughout her childhood growing up with two brothers, and as an adult raising two boys, Rose Costa kept dreaming about having a daughter to do “girly things with together,” she tells Yahoo Parenting.
But instead of leaving it up to fate, the Frisco, Tex. computer database developer, 36, and her husband, Vincent Costa, 37, spent $100,000 and endured seven rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) — despite having no fertility issues — in order to ensure that their third child would be a girl.
Now four months pregnant with a daughter they’ve already named Olivia, Rose has decided to speak out about the process of “family balancing,” via pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD): a component of IVF that allows patients to determine the gender of their embryos, after which they can opt to only transfer embryos of the desired sex into the mother’s uterus.
“I love my boys very much and wouldn’t change them for the world, but having a girl is really important to me,” the mom to sons Gabriel, 15, and Igor, 13, told the New York Post on Tuesday. “You feel incomplete as a mother until you have a girl.”
The Costa family at home in Texas (Photo: Shannon Faulk).
Rose tells Yahoo Parenting, “I know it’s something a bit controversial, but I also know that a lot of people, women especially, who have this kind of desire would like to know more about this; how it works and what they could do.”
The PGD procedure itself — which determines if an embryo has any genetic conditions, as well as reveals the gender — is “really nothing new,” Shari Brasner, an obstetrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, tells Yahoo Parenting, noting that patients often go through it for health concerns. But choosing not to place embryos back into the mother because they would result in a baby of undesirable sex is going a step further — one that’s been banned by some European countries and decried by ethical opponents as a means of creating “designer” babies.
Still, the practice is growing stateside. According to the Post, one doctor with offices in New York City and Los Angeles has seen a 250 percent increase in demand for his sex-selection fertility services over the past five years. “Just like everything else in this world, there will be people who will try to abuse the power,” says Brasner. “But when the technology exists, and it’s out there, I don’t think it’s up to a doctor to say, ‘I won’t offer this to you’ or ‘I don’t believe in it.’ Then it’s the doctor playing God and that’s not our place, either.”
Some family members didn’t approve of the Costas active pursuit of having a girl, she admits, “but they didn’t interfere.” (The couple used contraception throughout their three-year-plus saga to conceive Olivia so as not to risk becoming pregnant with a boy.)
The mom acknowledges, “My husband wanted another child but always said that for him it doesn’t matter if it was a boy or a girl.” Still, she says she relied on Vincent for support when her resolve wavered — and after she had a miscarriage in 2013. “He told me that he knew how much I wanted a girl, so he supported me. He always kept saying, ‘Let’s try. You can do one more time.’”
And now that she’s expecting Olivia, on October 31, Rose declares, “It’s all been worth the money we spent.” Her sons agree as well, according to her. “They’re older now and understand it better,” she says. “They know it’s important for me to have a girl, so they give me all their support, too.”
The only thing left for her to do now is set up a nursery — in pink, naturally. “I’m still thinking about how will decorate,” Rose says. “I only just started to make a registry. I was afraid of having another miscarriage so I wanted to wait until I was really sure and everything was OK. At this point, I just want to appreciate each moment.”