Latest Tech in IVF: Gender Selection

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With Technology advancing in IVF we are now seeing gender selection as a more accessible process for regular families to select the gender of their babies provided they have the funds to invest in the process. Although it is possible it is not a guaranteed chance that couples will get pregnant on their first try.

Who can choose their baby’s sex?

The technology that has been exposed in recent years by celebrities to get their baby boys and girls only applies to people undergoing the most costly and complex IVF process in the first place. In 2012, 61,000 babies were conceived by IVF, which is only 1.5 per cent of the 3.9 million births from the U.S. That means sex choice, which not all clinics provide anyhow, is a side effect of helping those who can’t conceive a child naturally.

If you do not have fertility problems to start with, you would not be qualified for IVF just for the purposes of gender selection. And even with IVF, the screening process which shows the sex of embryos is an excess measure costing anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. (The total average price of IVF with the screening of embryos is $20,000 to $25,000 per effort.)

How does gender selection work?

Directors of medical institutes, explain that when embryos are made in vitro, they are sometimes screened to be able to pick the healthiest ones to implant into the mother’s womb. This is called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), it is a complete chromosomal evaluation of each embryo. The screening is in response to medical history or circumstances, for example, numerous miscarriages or neglected past IVF cycles, or advanced maternal age [over 35]. With a normal routine, roughly 40 to 50 per cent of implanted embryos will cause a healthy pregnancy. Employing a screened embryo increases those opportunities to about 60 to 70 per cent.

If screening indicates that there are healthy embryos of both genders, about half of individuals ask to select a specific gender to the implant of the IVF process. IVF specialist don’t have an ethical dilemma with sex selection at this stage, especially because they have not seen a pattern of discrimination against a single sex. It is usually a problem of balance, the couple has two boys and would like a little girl, or vice versa.

Why is selecting a gender controversial?

Medical directors and IVF specialists do not see sex selection as a controversial issue, however, this can not be said for all of society. IVF professionals state that their practices don’t normally participate in the practice of sex selection: Their aim is a healthy pregnancy, not even a specific gender. Accordingly, an exception could be if a few were at risk of having a child with a genetic disorder linked to a certain gender. Because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should, it’s a slippery slope: If we begin selecting for sex, people could start requesting a particular eye or hair colour, or height. That is why medical professionals have strict protocols for who is eligible for the process.

After embryos are screened, in only about 15 to 20% of cases are there equally healthy embryos of each sex to select from anyway.

Gender selection may be on the rise and if you are looking into IVF as a contraception method, it could be a viable option or choice couples or individuals will have to make.