Why do people decide to plan child’s gender? There are several answers to this question. Some families are culturally preconditioned; some of them just want to have a baby of a particular sex; some of them have already had several children of a certain sex and don’t want to try blindly until their long - expected boy or girl is born. Some parents try to avoid any genetic diseases or defects. Modern medicine offers multiple choices for people to plan their future family and helps them achieve their dream of becoming parents.
"The most important thing is that it is healthy," that is probably the sentence that comes most often when it comes to the question of the gender of the offspring. The core of the statement is true, of course. And yet: quite secretly many of us have a small preference for the gender of our own children. Be it that you already have three sons and that's why you want a little girl now. Be it that you yourself are a young at heart, and that's why you want a little adventurer. Often it is simply small preferences that are irrelevant on the whole anyway, because you can not choose the sex of the offspring just not. Until now - and at least in Germany.
In the USA and a few other countries, doctors allow their clients to screen for sex by artificial insemination. The planning of the sex is thus in vitro, that is using the test tube fertilization.
A small biological insert: About the sex of the offspring determined in each case, the sperm of the man. The woman's ovum always carries an X chromosome in it. Depending on which sperm of the man fertilizes the ovum, the egg and sperm fuse into either a XX (ie a female) or an XY (ie a male) combination. Incidentally, the probability of having a girl or a boy is not 50:50. More boys than girls are born worldwide - even if the difference is rather small. The ratio is 51 to 49 percent. This is mainly because more boys than girls survive the nine months of pregnancy.
To determine the gender of the embryo in an artificial insemination, researchers have developed so-called sperm sorters. These machines can separate sperm carrying an X chromosome from those with a Y chromosome. The result is quite reliable: Sperm with female genome can already be identified and filtered out with a reliability of 93%. Male sperm, however, only with a 73 percent probability. Sorting feature is the 2.8 percent increase in DNA of female sperm.
Another and the most widely used method comes a little later in the process of in vitro treatment: Several embryos are produced by in vitro fertilization. Thereafter, at the four-cell or eight-cell stage, a single cell is taken from each embryo and genetically examined, as in other types of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, e.g. Hereditary diseases such as cystic fibrosis or vitreous bone disease. Under the neon light microscope, the gender of the embryo comes to light: the female cells glow pink and the males light blue.
In view of these facts, the question arises of the ethical significance of sex selection. Do you really want to promote the preference of one sex to the detriment of the other? Moreover, if it could lead to socio-political consequences such as in China or India?
On the other hand, why should gender not be a selection reason? What makes a "good" selection reason? Is it justifiable to attribute less value to an embryo with disabilities than to a healthy one? If we question gender selection, would not we also question the general urge for perfectionism behind the more and more differentiated reproductive diagnostics?
Nevertheless, the determination of the sex, the preselection of the embryo, all this seems to be there, the own fantasies and beliefs to experience. "The son will take care of us later and take over the business, the daughter will go away instead." "My girl I can put on pink and make my best friend, I'm not interested in children's things." As if it were possible, the Already to predict the curriculum vitae of the child. To make the uncontrollable predictable, even controllable.
Due to qualitative and scientific breakthroughs in assisted reproductive technology it has now become possible to plan the sex of the child in advance. Currently the modern reproductive science offers two ways for gender selection: sperm-sorting (including the laser assisted „Microsort“ technique) and IVF with the PGD technique.
The question is whether it will be a boy or a girl is especially important if there are the genetic disorders in the family. With the new method, parents can avoid transmitting the genetic diseases to their children. According to the latest US studies: Embryos screening used for gender selection helps to dramatically (more than by 80%) reduce the risk for miscarriages.
The gender selection is still controversial from the ethical point of view, since it leads to more frequent termination of pregnancy. In many states (including Germany), gender selection is only allowed for medical reasons, in case the severe hereditary diseases are diagnosed in parents. Direct indication for genetic screening and gender selection such hereditary diseases as hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy or Turner syndrom.
The gender selection is allowed in the United Kingdom, the USA, Australia, Switzerland and some countries of the Middle East. More and more European patients give preference to centers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai due to excellent quality of reproductive techniques for sex selection as well as lower price for gender selection. Here is the comparative chart with average prices for gender selection in different countries.
|Gender selection technique||The USA||The UK and Canada||United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi)|
|IVF or IUI with Sperm sorting techniques (Microsort)||from €16 000 – €20 000 / $18.000- $22.500||from €15 000 – €18 000 / $17.000- $20.200||from €8 000- €9 000 / $9.000- $10.100|
|IVF with PGD/ FISH or NGS||from €22.000/ $24.700||from €23 000 / $25.700||from €11 000 – €12 000 / $12.400- $13.500|
The state-of-the-art method of sperm sorting allows the specialist to the X and Y-sperm by use of centrifugation. The procedure has been patented in the late seventies by Ronald Ericsson. During the selection procedure sperm is separated from the seminal fluid and morphologically abnormal sperm. The remaining sample is centrifugated, whereby the Y-sperm move faster before reaching the bottom of the tube. After this procedure of gender selection the woman gets inseminated with the sperms of higher quality. After such an insemination, the chances of getting pregnant with a healthy child grow dramatically. The sperm sorting is successful in gender selection in 80% of cases.
Modern IVF centers implement the latest technology for sperm sorting, called laser analyzer of cell fluorescence intensity. This technique for gender planning helps to select the sperm bearing the X chromosome with the precision of up to 90%. The limitation of this technique lies in the fact that during this process, sperm count is dramatically reduced. The selected sperm can further be processed for
As US studies of MicroSort efficiency show over 93% of patients who wanted a girl got actually pregnant with a girl. Patients who wanted to get a boy gave life to male babies in around 85 percent. Nowadays you can achieve higher success rate through combining the MicroSort with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a special molecular testing of the chromosome set of the embryo cells, conducted prior to the transfer of the embryo into the uterus. In addition to gender selection, the PGD research reveals about 150 hereditary diseases, which significantly reduces the probability of a sick child and increases the efficiency of IVF procedures. The success rate of PGD for gender selection makes up 100%.
Modern IVF clinics offer FISH screening - a modern form of diagnosis of fetal chromosomal abnormalities. If it is found that the embryo cells have extra chromosome or lack one chromosome, the embryo is not a subject to transfer into the uterus of a woman. The study can accurately and safely identify the risks of genetic abnormalities as early as on the 10th week of pregnancy.
Although Gender selection is not legalized in Germany, we are dedicated to helping patients from abroad to get access to this modern and useful service. The International Office of our clinic closely cooperates with the IVF partner clinics abroad, where the gender selection is performed in compliance with the latest scientific achievements. You have questions concerning the sex selection, please don’t hesitate to call us. We will provide you with all the necessary information, help to find the appropriate IVF clinic and help to get the closest appointment for visiting the leading specialist for gender selection. We are looking forward to help you to balance your family with a desired child.