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For many years, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has been the last resort for couples unable to get pregnant on their own. With infertility on the rise, it is an expensive procedure you have probably heard about in the news, or perhaps you or someone you know has undergone treatment. Now the procedure is moving into the mainstream with the rise in popularity of sex selection. That is, you can now opt for the somewhat invasive procedure for things other than infertility, like choosing the gender of your baby.
Did You Know You Can Choose Your Baby’s Gender?
The thought may have never occurred to you, but scientific advances over the past few decades have made the idea of picking your baby’s gender a real possibility. There are procedures and tests available, mostly associated with infertility treatment, that allow for this. There is a concern among bio-ethicists that the idea of a “designer baby” is not far away, but for the moment, gender selection often occurs as a byproduct of infertility screening and procedures.
Is the Process A Guarantee?
Your success in picking your baby’s gender depends on the method used. The most accurate test is known as the preimplantation genetic diagnosis screening (PGD), and it has near 100% accuracy. Most IVF clinics will give a success rate of 99.9%, leaving room for human error in the process, but this is your best shot at choosing the gender of your baby.
A second method used for sex selection is known as sperm sorting. This method separates male sperm from female sperm but only comes with a 55% to 80% success rate, depending on the desired sex. This may be a more viable option for you though, due to its lower price tag.
Couples receiving the PGD screen can opt out of learning the sex of potential embryos, and many, in fact, prefer to use the healthiest embryo, regardless of the gender. Others see sperm sorting as giving natural processes a small boost. The decision, ultimately, is a personal one.
How Choosing The Gender Of Your Unborn Child Works
Sperm sorting works by separating out the heavier x-sperm that create girls from the lighter y-sperm of males. This is done at the start of the IVF process, prior to fertilization, but, as mentioned above, this option is less accurate.
If you opt for the PGD method, picking your baby’s gender is more successful and comes with added benefits. The PGD screen was not designed for sex selection, but to test for genetic abnormalities and disease. The screen occurs after the embryo has begun to develop. A few cells are removed and tested, and the sex of the embryo is known with 100% accuracy, as a well as any other genetic issues the embryo may have. Which embryo or embryos to use is, at this point, up to the parents-to-be.
What Determines If Your Baby Is A Boy Or Girl?
If you are considering IVF and wondering about choosing the gender of your baby, it may be helpful to know what actually determines the sex of a baby. In a natural pregnancy, the sex of the baby is determined solely by the father’s sperm.
A woman’s eggs only contain X chromosomes, while male sperm carries either an X or a Y chromosome. If the baby has two X chromosomes, one from the egg and one from the sperm, it will be a girl, and if it has an X chromosome from the egg and a Y chromosome from the sperm it will be a boy.
The High Cost Of Picking A Gender
IVF on its own is already an expensive proposition for many people. The capability of picking your baby’s gender comes with additional costs. A normal round of IVF is estimated to cost you about $12,000, but the PGD test adds several thousand dollars to the price tag, with many clinics charging more than $20,000 for the sex selection option.
Though sperm sorting is less accurate it is also considerably cheaper and may be an alternative worth considering if choosing the gender of your baby is important. If you have to undertake infertility treatments anyway, then these added costs may not be a big deal. For couples with the means, gender selection is an option if they desire a baby of a certain sex.