Your TTC Strategy 4: Understand Genetics and Gender Selection
What you should know six months before you start trying to get pregnant
Genetic Counseling & Testing
Internet “gender vendors” will tout their special herbal and vitamin blends as surefire ways to predetermine the sex of your baby—for a price and a “money-back guarantee.” As noted, they’re bound to be right 50 percent of the time….
While some couples swear by these gender selection methods, others say that there is no certain way to choose the sex of your baby. No matter which theory you believe, there is one definite: You and your partner can have fun trying out the various methods!
When you need or want a higher level of probability of getting a certain gender, there are high-tech options available that can reliably separate X- and Y-bearing sperm.
Sperm separation by high-speed centrifugation is a method of sorting sperm based on the small differences in sperm density. Fertility centers still offer this method of gender selection in spite of the fact that studies have shown that the ratio of X to Y sperm is unchanged.
The MicroSort® process sorts sperm by male and female by a process that measures differences in the DNA. Then using an intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) the enriched sample of sperm is used to help you conceive. About 92 percent of those attempting for a girl do conceive a girl, while those wanting a boy are successful 81 percent of the time. This procedure is expensive and usually used with advanced reproductive technologies (ART).
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is the most effective technique in sex selection. It is nearly 100 percent accurate and also has the ability to select a healthy embryo. Eggs are collected from the woman’s ovary and mixed in a Petri dish with the husband’s sperm. Once the fertilized egg begins to divide, one of the cells of the embryo is removed and a chromosomal analysis is performed. Only the desired gender embryo is placed back in the uterus.
There is no doubt that these high-tech methods really work. However, to use them, you have to give up the idea of making a baby at home in bed.
An overlooked method of gender selection is adoption. Many adoption agencies allow the prospective parents to choose a gender, although it may take longer to adopt. Learn more about the adoption process here.
Whether it is to achieve a balanced family or minimize the chances of passing on a genetic disease, there are many options available for selection of your baby’s gender. But how would you know whether it would be risky for you to have a baby of a particular sex? Genetic counseling first, and testing if necessary.
All of us have looked at a newborn baby and commented on the likeness to his or her parents. Where did she get her dimples? Where did he get those long eyelashes? At the time of conception, the genetic contributions from the mother and father combine to form a unique combination of DNA that becomes a baby. Every person has two copies of each gene, one inherited from each parent. Although these paired genes contain the same information, there are variations in the genetic code (the DNA code) so that many of these genes are not exactly the same. Some changes in the genetic code go beyond normal variations in appearance and are associated with birth defects or diseases. Prospective parents can determine their risk of carrying these genes through genetic counseling and testing.
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