In Enders Game, when Graff is trying to take Ender away, he says:

“Peter isn't all bad, you know. He was the best we’d seen in a long time. We asked your parents to choose a daughter next--they would have anyway--hoping that valentine would be Peter, but milder."

How do you "choose" to have a daughter, if it was natural sex that created her?

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    I don't recall this being addressed in the book, and haven't read the sequels, but there are technologies available today which at least purport to confer this choice. On a speculative level, it isn't hard to imagine, in a heavily population-controlled world, all reproduction being done through artificial insemination, and the fetuses to be implanted being screened to the parents' specification. – Politank-Z Apr 29 '15 at 16:40
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    @Politank-Z i think it was implied because of their religious natures that they did conceive "naturally" rather then artificial insemination. Especially since despite the government allowing them 3 children, they would have had them anyway and pay the fines/be legally introuble. – Himarm Apr 29 '15 at 16:43
  • @Himarm Perhaps so, and perhaps Ender's parents didn't choose their kids genders at all. Also possible that Ender's father had some technological filter on his contribution, or some other bit of hand waving. I was addressing OP's question in the general sense rather then speculating on the precise methods in these conceptions. – Politank-Z Apr 29 '15 at 16:47
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    enders game, chapter 3 (graff), page 24, paragraph 4 or 5. – albusseverus potter Apr 29 '15 at 17:56
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    I see this as a tacit suggestion that a gender-selective abortion would have been enforced, but the gender was what they were looking for. – EngrStudent Apr 29 '15 at 21:08

Essentially today, we have many different natural ways in which to highly increase the chance of either a boy or a girl, without having any doctor interference. how to have a baby girl There are tons of sites like this, as well as real medical information that can help you out. Personally my mom did many of these things herself, to ensure she had first a son, and then a daughter, whether it was luck or because of her obsessive planning her dream family came true. Other then this the book itself is set in our future, we dont know if a simple pill could be taken that would reduce the male donor from producing female or male gender-ed offspring, or a pill that would allow the female egg to only accept male or female gender-ed donor material.

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    There are many different natural ways which many people believe increase the chance of either a boy or a girl without a doctor. I haven't seen any I believe however. OTOH quick search finds there is an association between breakfasts and gender: webmd.com/baby/features/deciding-babys-sex – Mooing Duck Apr 29 '15 at 21:32
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    Indeed, the page you link to doesn't seem especially credible. No sources cited, and more reputable articles (like Mooing Duck's link) say there aren't studies backing those ideas up. Your article looks like linkbait - it even counts "figure out when you ovulate" and "have sex three days before ovulation" as separate methods in order to come up with the advertised five methods. – Cascabel Apr 29 '15 at 23:40
  • @Jefromi i realize its link bate, its literally just the first article i found on the subject, despite being link bate millions of women still attempt to do these things, and many claim they actually work. While the science is sketchy, for religious couples against different medical assisted pregnancies these are the most likely things they would have done/tried. – Himarm Apr 30 '15 at 13:05
  • @Himarm Perhaps, but (1) sure, they were traditional in some ways, but they were still intelligent and (2) I hardly think an outsider would describe that as "choose a daughter". Whatever he's talking about, it sounds like he means something that actually works. – Cascabel Apr 30 '15 at 14:35
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    @Himarm Also keep in mind that for a woman who has two children, there is always a 25% chance of getting the exact genders in the exact order you want. If "millions of women still attempt to do these things", that would imply that "at least half a million women" randomly get exactly what they want. – Xynariz May 27 '15 at 22:21

This isn't directly addressed in the books, as far as I know, though Hatrack, Orson Scott Card's official site, may have details I never ran across.

Two things do address this:

  1. On one hand, Ender's Shadow sequel series shows some pretty advanced genetic engineering and in-vitro technology being available, which means it's not inconceivable that they can engineer the gender of the child

    Having said that, as other comments noted, devout Catholics/LDS like Ender's parents would very likely be extremely averse to such an unnatural approach, even if the technology is available.

  2. Moreover, we know that Graff is lying to everyone through his zhopa (including the main reason Peter was rejected, or setting up John Paul with Theresa in the first place, and how long Ender won't see his family, etc...), so what makes you think that he was telling the (full or even partial) truth here?

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    only 1 parent is catholic, the other is a Mormon i believe. – Himarm Apr 29 '15 at 20:45
  • @Himarm - good point, thanks! Her father was Mormon, from "First meetings". Fixed. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 29 '15 at 21:01

This already happens today. A parent can find out the sex of a child by doing a sonogram. Parents with no moral compunction can then 'choose' the sex of their next child by 'choosing' whether or not they carry the baby to term, or abort the child. There is an underlying theme of population control in Ender's Game. Parents are only allowed two children, and must petition the government to be allowed to have any more. Ender's father came from a large family, which was considered criminal. Remember Ender suffered from some level of social rejection because of his status as a 'third'.

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    Definitely possible. But both of Ender’s parents were religious Christians (albeit of different faiths). Surely any sort of abortion, let alone for convenience, would be against their principles? – Adamant Nov 1 '17 at 4:59
  • Exactly. That was a little subplot that demonstrated the tyranny in their system. You have the government asking you to do something that is against your morals. On a larger scale, this is what they did by taking their children and turning them into cold blooded killers. Ender's game was not one that painted a very rosy future. This is further elucidated in the Bean series. I think it is called the Shadow Saga. – Mike Vonn Nov 1 '17 at 16:58
  • @Adamant If I recall correctly, Bean survived being murdered as an infant in a home for unwanted infants by hiding in a toilet tank. It was very sad stuff. – Mike Vonn Nov 1 '17 at 17:05

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