Can you pick the gender of your baby if you are using infertility treatments? Actually, you can. Some fertility patients may be interested in family balancing and gender selection. Gender selection is available for patients who wish to select the sex of the embryo used in their fertility treatment. Many people don’t know that the male’s sperm determines the sex of the baby. There is a specific “sex chromosome” found in the sperm is the determining factor for gender. Unfortunately, most methods to sort X (female) from the Y (male) sperm are still inaccurate due to limitations in current technology.
For patients who want to be certain of the gender of their embryo, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, known as “PGD,” may be used. This is a more intensive process that involves the examination of embryos during the time when they are developing in the IVF dish. Embryologists are experts at this process and making sure one is working with a greate clinic with an excellent embryologist on staff is key. Once the fertilized egg has reached the 5-6th day of development, a few cells can be safely removed for testing. If a Y chromosome is present, this indicates that the gender of the embryo is male. This procedure has a 99% accuracy rate for gender selection – significantly higher than with sperm sorting. It is the best way to help you pick the gender of your baby!
What is Chromosomal Screening?
PGD also offers the opportunity to “screen” an embryo’s chromosomes for errors prior to implantation. Women who have passed the peak of their fertility have fewer eggs. These eggs, unfortunately, often give rise to chromosomal abnormalities and can lead to miscarriages and health issues. In fact, embryos that develop with chromosomal errors almost always result in early miscarriage, since few defects involving chromosomes are compatible with life.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis improves the chance that any embryos used in In Vitro Fertilization (or “IVF”) have a normal chromosome count and that there are no errors in the combination of chromosomes. Gender selection can be done at the same time if desired. The screening process is almost 100% accurate for identifying healthy, normal embryos! It is not intended to be a guarantee against birth defects since most defects that result in live birth are caused by other factors during the pregnancy. Instead, the purpose of PGD is to ensure that an embryo is viable and likely to thrive upon implantation. This significantly increases the chances of successful In Vitro Fertilization treatment and a happy healthy baby!