Some parents want or need to choose their baby’s gender. Because of technological advances, you can now easily turn to science to help give you either a boy or girl baby. This process costs close to $20,000 each try as of 2010, and it may take a few tries before you become pregnant.
If you are at risk of passing down gender-related diseases, such as the X-linked hydrocephalus which only occurs in boys, you may want to select the gender of your baby so that you can avoid these genetic defects. Other families want to choose the baby’s gender for personal reasons, a process called “family balancing.” This means that a family with three girls may really want a boy or a family may want a son first and then a daughter.
How It’s Done
One way you can accomplish gender selection through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is through pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. In this, the technician will fertilize several eggs with the father’s sperm. Before they are placed in the mother’s uterus, a technician will analyze the zygotes, looking for genetic defects along with gender. The doctor would then only implant the zygotes that are of the desired gender. With the MicroSort method, the sperm is separated into “boy” and “girl” sperm, which you can then use to fertilize the eggs before implanting them.
In IVF, doctors place the fertilized egg inside your uterus in the hopes that it will attach itself and become a fetus. One try of this is called a “cycle” and includes stimulating (or waiting for) ovulation, fertilization and implantation. Though couples hope that this will work the first time they try, that doesn’t always happen. Success is more likely for younger couples. On average, the chance that you’ll become pregnant on the first try is close to 50 percent. Many clinics offer a “multiple cycle” package, which offers a refund if you are not pregnant after three cycles.
Without gender selection, you have a slightly higher chance of having a boy baby–about 51 percent of new babies are boys. The MicroSort has a success rate of about 90 percent for conceiving a girl and 70 percent for conceiving a boy, according to CNN. Your chances of success with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is almost 100 percent certain, according to MSNBC.
Legal and Ethical Concerns
As of 2010, gender selection through IVF is legal in the United States. In some other countries, such as England, it is not legal, except in cases where the child may be at risk of gender-linked genetic defects. Many worry about what widespread gender selection could do to the population. In countries like China, for example, boys are favored and greatly outnumber the girls. Currently, in the United States, the people who request gender selection typically request girls, though this could be partially based on the fact that the procedure is usually more effective in selecting a girl.
- baby boy image by Steve Lovegrove from Fotolia.com