Monday, January 23 marked the commencement of the 2012 Chinese New Year, known as the year of the dragon.
Many Chinese people await this annual lunar year in great anticipation to celebrate and revel in endless merrymaking.
In celebration of this once-in-every-12-years event, some take to the streets, others take to the sheets…to make a dragon baby.
Not a virtual fire-breathing baby dragon that is—rather a baby born in the dragon year of the Chinese Zodiac. Astrology is an important component of the Chinese culture and the Chinese year of the dragon is extremely sacred.
In the Chinese Zodiac, a dragon is a long-held symbol of success, strength and luck. This year, Chinese couples all over the world are aspiring to conceive a smart, strong and successful child; as many of them are trying fertility treatments to speed up pregnancy to deliver the baby by February 9, 2013.
After that date, it is a snake baby- not a very popular star sign among Chinese people. This may come as no surprise to IVF doctors and fertility practitioners, who have witnessed a sudden surge of interest not only in China and Asia, but also in several countries where the Chinese community is heavily concentrated.
Some Chinese couples are even considering having a dragon baby via surrogacy abroad, traveling half way around the world to find a surrogate mother.
Since surrogacy is illegal in China, a growing number of Chinese couples are seeking surrogacy in the US to take advantage of the advanced fertility treatments and board-certified doctors.
Egg donation clinics in the US are cashing in on the dragon baby trend, too- by targeting their advertisements to the Chinese community and Americans of Chinese decent.
Robyn Perchik, owner of Beverly Hills Egg Donation in California, told Wall Street Journal that when a doctor informed her about the coming year of the dragon, she increased the clinic's database of donors of Chinese origin by targeting Chinese-language newspapers.
The group has seen a 250% surge in contracts signed for those eggs in the past few months compared with a year earlier.
Although the mythical creature is the topic of humorous conversations in the western world; it is taken very seriously in the Chinese culture and those born in Dragon years are revered and respected.
To any Chinese person, a dragon is an emblem of good fortune and a symbol of immense power.
Conceive a baby boy Chinese style:
Other myths go beyond flaming dragons; many IVF patients, not necessarily Chinese, are following the Chinese conception calendar to predict whether their unborn child will be a boy or a girl.
Couples following the Chinese conception calendar are willing to disregard all common sense and rational thinking in hope of having a baby boy.
Legend has it the Chinese pregnancy calendar was buried in a royal tomb almost 900 years ago and was recently discovered.
Patients refer to the calendar by moving up and down until they get the age of the mother at the time of conception. If the square is blue, it is a boy and if the square is pink a girl it is!
On a more scientific note, gender selection treatment is an IVF procedure that helps couples determine the sex of their baby.
Gender selection is not only designed to choose the sex of the baby. Gender selection can be used with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to prevent the inheritance of genetic diseases. IVF doctors study the chromosomes of an embryo to ensure that diseased embryos are not re-implanted into the uterus.
A roaring dragon or a Chinese pregnancy chart, people will believe anything to guarantee the gender of their baby. Nonetheless, IVF treatments will remain a trust-worth scientific approach to treat infertility problems and to choose your desired child gender.