Gender Selection

An Overview of Gender Selection

 

 

Gender selection has been made possible by many advances in assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). The medical sciences constantly strive to find ways to improve people’s quality of life, as well as ways to make life more fulfilling. Numerous couples are using gender selection for family balancing, simply due to the fact they want to raise a boy and a girl.

 

Is gender selection effective?

 

Our fertility specialists enjoy helping people achieve their dreams of balancing a family. We use pre-genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) to accurately predict the gender of their child. Gender selection technology has a 95-100% accuracy rate. Only embryos of the chosen gender are transferred to the uterus.

 

Does IVF work for clients using gender selection?

 

According to our studies, more than 60% of our clients who undergo IVF with gender selection go on to deliver a healthy baby after the embryo transfer process.

 

What is the science behind gender selection?

 

Gender selection is determined by analyzing the chromosomes. Our bodies contain billions of cells, and all cells contain 46 rod-like forms of paired chromosomes. The gamete cells (eggs and sperm) only contain 23 chromosomes. One of these pairs of chromosomes determines the sex of the developing baby.

 

With fertilization, the gametes join and form embryos that have the normal chromosome number (46). If the chromosome is made of one X and one Y chromosome, this indicates it is a male. When the sex chromosome has two X chromosomes, it is defined as female. Eggs can only contain X chromosomes, and all sperm contain either an X or a Y chromosome.

 

The IVF-PGD Process

 

The steps of the IVF-PGD process are:

  • Patients are given hormones to stimulate multiple egg development in the ovarian follicles. Growth of the eggs is monitored by blood tests and ultrasounds.
  • Eggs are retrieved through the vagina in a simple office procedure.
  • Embryos are created in a petri dish in the laboratory, where sperm are combined with eggs.
  • The embryos develop, and then are transferred to incubators to grow.
  • The embryos are biopsied with the removal of 1-2 cells on the third day in culture. These cells are analyzed for chromosomal makeup and gender, which involves screening for hundreds of inherited disorders.
  • Two days later, selected gender appropriate embryos are implanted to the woman’s uterus.
  • A pregnancy test is done 10-14 days later.

 

What is the benefit of PGD for gender selection?

 

The technique of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows for biopsy of the embryo to determine sex. This technique differs from sperm sporting, providing an almost 100% accuracy rate. The practice of sex selection using PGD is also used by people wishing to avoid children with X-linked disorders, such as hemophilia. Around half of male children born to known carriers of hemophilia will have this condition. To ensure that children are not born with this, some women do not transfer male embryos during IVF.

 

What are concerns related to sex selection?

 

These procedures can raise ethical concerns. One main concern is that these techniques reinforce gender discrimination by allowing one sex chosen or by encouraging parents to focus on gender rather than the child. In recent reports in the U.S., 90% of couples used the service for family balancing, and 80% of these couples chose to have girls.

 

Resources

Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 2001. Preconception gender selection for nonmedical reasons. Fertil. Steril. 75:861-864.

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. 2003. Sex Selection. Postnote 198. United Kingdom: Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. p2.

Hardy, K. Marin K.L., Leese, H.J., Winston, R.M., and Handyside, A.H. 1990. Human preimplantation development in vitro is not adversely affected by biopsy at the 8-cell stage. Hum. Reprod. 5:708-714.

Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 2001. Preconception gender selection for nonmedical reasons. Fertil. Steril. 75:861-864.