The most common reason for selecting a baby’s gender involve trying to reduce genetic diseases, which have a predilection for one particular gender over another. Another less critical reason is that parents may want to balance out their family with a child of another gender.
There are only two proven, scientific methods of gender selection for your next offspring – Sperm sorting and In vitro fertilization with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).
This technique involves separating the sperm based on their X or Y chromosome. It has been around for over 30 years. This technique is widely used as a part of IVF and IUI procedures
During this process, the sperm cells are separated from the seminal fluid and concentrated into healthy and motile sperm while the abnormal sperm is filtered out. Then by the process of centrifugation, in which controlled spinning renders particles in a sample to sort into layers based on their density, the denser X-sperm are separated from the Y-sperm. Once separated, the X or Y chromosome can be selected for use based on the desired gender. The remaining sample is also more likely to result in a successful pregnancy. After the sperm layer with desired chromosomes is selected, the sample will be inseminated into the woman. The success rates for sperm-sorting can range from 78-85% in a couple seeking a boy, and 73-75% in a couple seeking a girl.
In Vitro Fertilization with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (IVF with PGD):
The technique involves testing the embryos for gender before they are implanted in the womb. The basic steps of IVF include taking eggs from the female and fertilizing them with the sperm taken from the male, and then the embryos are created in the lab for implantation. For PGD, a biopsy of the embryo is performed on the third day of growth for single cell analysis for the presence of male or female chromosome. PGD is typically used for couples with a family history of a genetic disorder, or if the mother is older and more likely to have a baby with genetic birth defects. PGD is not 100% reliable and only tests for specific defects. It does not replace other prenatal genetic tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. It is still regarded as an experimental procedure. The success rates for this procedure are 97-99.9% accurate in couples seeking either a boy or girl.
Other techniques, such as Whelan or Shettles method are nonscientific and there is no real evidence that they work. This includes other ways, such as 0+12 method, sex positions, and food supplements. None of these have been scientifically proven to work.
It is important to remember that gender selection is a very serious consideration and should be done for the right reasons – to prevent gender-specific genetic disorders from recurring in families, or if there was a loss of child and there is a desire to balance out the family.