Todays technology allows couples to select the sex of their child as a result of preimplantation genetic testing during the IVF cycle.
When you go through IVF, you have the opportunity to have the embryos screened for both chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. This screening procedure is called pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT). Ultimately, individuals and couples who take advantage of PGT ensure the healthiest embryos are used on transfer day, before beginning the long two-week wait (TWW).
Once you’re pregnant, the questions begin: who is the baby going to look like? Will she have her mother’s athletic prowess? Will he share his father’s love of reading? And, most common of all: Is our baby a boy or a girl?
One of the direct results of PGT is that embryologists automatically find out which embryos have two pairs of XX chromosomes (females) and which ones have a pair of XY chromosomes (males). Performing gender selection (GS) via PGT has a 99.5% accuracy rate. You can read more about PGT Here.
While the embryologists know which embryos are which sex, we typically keep that information to ourselves…unless requested otherwise. At that point, gender selection becomes the choice of the parents.
Much like having a baby in the first place, choosing the gender of your baby is a very personal decision. Some people choose to have children because they feel their family is incomplete without them, they want a companion sibling for their only child, or they want an heir to continue the family name or legacy.
Gender selection is equally valid, and there are several reasons why patients opt to select embryos for IVF based on gender. Some of the most common reasons are:
Patients who already have one child, or multiple children, of the same sex may choose gender selection to balance the family dynamics or to have the experience of having both sons and daughters.
If preconception genetic screening showed the mother carries a chromosome-linked genetic disorder, the couple may use gender selection as a way to have a biological child of their own but without putting the child or future generations at risk.
For example, conditions such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy or Fragile X syndrome are more likely to be expressed in males, so couples at higher risk for conceiving a child with a sex-linked genetic disorder might opt for gender selection to minimize that chance. You can visit genome.gov to learn more about genetically-linked disorders and birth defects.
Sometimes, the reasons for gender selection are deeply psychological or emotional. Individuals or couples may feel better prepared and equipped to raise boys or girls. We’ve had couples who only had siblings of one sex and therefore feel most comfortable having a child of that same sex. Others have lost a daughter and son and want to have another child of that same sex.
PGT to test if the embryo is chromosomally normal adds about $3,000 – $4,000 to an IVF cycle depending on how many embryos are available for testing. There is no extra cost to discover the gender. That price may be less if you are taking advantage of a particular IVF discount plan or if you have insurance coverage for IVF & PGT .
Are you interested in learning more about the best way to choose the sex of your baby? Schedule a consultation with the Northern California Fertility Medical Center, or give us a call at (916) 773- BABY.