Huntington Reproductive Center - Blogs

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Dr. David Tourgeman Discusses Reasons for Gender Selection

Expectant parents are often asked, "Do you want a boy or a girl?"

Many couples want to learn their baby's gender during an ultrasound or after an amniocentesis, while others prefer the element of surprise at delivery.

Some parents, however, are anxious to plan their baby's gender before they get pregnant. Thanks to in vitro fertilization (IVF) combined with preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), they can select their future baby's sex before conception.

After the embryos are created and grow (and they have achieved 60-100 cells), one cell is removed from each embryo and analyzed. PGS can determine gender as well as chromosomal abnormalities. The doctor will select unaffected embryos to transfer or freeze.

So why would prospective parents want to intentionally choose one gender over the other?

Family balancing

Family balancing is one of the more common reasons parents choose to select their child's sex. Maybe they have several daughters or sons and want their next child to be a longed-for boy or girl. They may also be motivated by cultural or religious reasons, or the desire of one parent to have a child of the same or opposite sex.

Couples seeking family balancing do not necessarily have infertility problems, but they must undergo IVF with PGS to learn the gender of the embryos created. It's a process that requires medical intervention and financial commitment.

Preventing the transmission of X-linked genetic disorders

Some inherited genetic diseases are X-linked and carried on the sex chromosome that determines the gender of the child. Parents may want the selection of a female embryo to prevent passing on x-linked recessive conditions affecting males, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy or hemophilia.

There are hundreds of genetic diseases where the sex chromosome is involved in either a recessive or dominant way. Many are very rare, but parents may be aware they are carriers through genetic testing, or if they have given birth to a child affected by the disorder.

They are already undergoing IVF and genetic screening

We offer IVF patients the opportunity to add genetic screening to their procedure. They can learn the gender of their embryos to give them the option of creating the family they envision. This can be attractive to "older" intended parents who realize their ability to build their family is limited. PGS also increases the likelihood of pregnancy by transferring the most viable embryos with the correct number of chromosomes.

Success rates are very high

When performed at an experienced fertility clinic like HRC Fertility that has well-trained lab technicians, PGS is reprted to be 99.9% effective in selecting genders, especially when using five day embryos. It is not 100% accurate because the embryologist may find no "signal" in the single cells or cells removed and screened from the embryo. This is rare, however.

Gender selection is legal in the United States

Gender selection is legal in the U.S. though it isn't in many countries, including Australia, Canada, China, India and the United Kingdom. Though this may not be the primary reason to use it, we are fortunate to be able to provide this technology when it's needed and wanted.



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