Sex selection is a procedure that can be done during an IVF cycle for patients who wish to choose the sex of their child.
Sex selection is a procedure that can be done during an In Vitro Fertilization cycle for patients who wish to choose the sex of their child. A typical IVF cycle is made up of 4 stages: follicle stimulation with hormone injections, egg retrieval, fertilization of eggs in an IVF dish, and transfer of one or more embryos to the uterus. The sex selection step occurs after fertilization and before transfer. The technique used to identify embryo is called Preimplantation Genetic Technologies – Aneuploidy (PGT-A, previously called PGS) Unlike sperm sorting which does not reliably identify the sex of the embryo, PGT-A has been investigated and demonstrated to be highly effective with an accuracy rate of 99%.
When the developing embryo is 5 days old, it has many cells. Some of the cells will become the fetus and others, the placenta. PGT-A is performed by creating a small hole in the egg shell and removing a 5-6 cells from the area of the embryo that becomes the future placenta.. The cells are examined for the presence of genetic markers that are specific to the Y chromosome (the male chromosome). If these markers are present, the embryo is male. If the Y markers are not present, the embryo is female.
People choose to sex select for a number of reasons. For example, to balance their family with a child of the opposite sex, concern about a genetic disease that affects male children more than female children and for cultural preferences.
PGT-A is the only reliable method for sex selection. Sperm sorting techniques are unproven and lack scientific evidence. There is data that certain sperm sorting techniques may increase the risk of a genetic abnormality in the child.
There have now been thousands of children born from embryos that underwent PGT-A. Testing of embryos on day 5 of development (blastocyst) is felt to be safest of all techniques. Transferring a normal embryo greatly reduces the chance carrying a fetus with a chromosomal abnormality such as Down’s Syndrome or other more lethal conditions.