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.
What is baby gender selection? It is an ability to give a birth to a child of the certain gender. Everybody knows that the baby's sex is determined at the moment of impregnation and depends upon father’s chromosome which fertilizers mother’s egg. The father’s sperm contains both X and Y chromosome. X - Chromosome fertilizing the mother’s egg results in a female pregnancy, Y-Chromosome fertilizing the egg causes a male pregnancy. That is the natural gender selection process. Since ancient time people have been interested in planning baby’s gender and tried to find valid methods of controlling the given process. Some methods were based on prejudice or superstitious beliefs, other methods supported impregnation in strictly determined days of the woman’s menstrual cycle. One should also mention such methods as specific nutrition programs before the impregnation and so on.
Modern medicine has shown considerable development in the sphere of fertilization programs recently and now offers various gender selection methods. Such techniques were created with the aim to help couples with serious fertility disorders give a birth to a baby. Later these methods became popular with couples who already had a boy or boys and wanted to have a girl and vice versa. Thus, these techniques started to be called family balancing methods. Below we will look at these methods more in detail.
PGD - Preimplantation genetic diagnosis. The PGD method is considered to be the most reliable one with the sex determination accuracy of more than 99%. Moreover, this diagnosis allows identifying major genetic diseases and defects. It means that PGD provides clear picture of the baby's genetic state. The PGD diagnosis requires further in vitro fertilization procedure as the baby’s gender is selected during the IVF process. Among IVF method pros one can define its high accuracy and suitability for women with serious fertility disorders and men with poor sperm. The cons include the necessity of invasive procedures and very high cost. One should also mention that in some countries this method is strictly prohibited due to ethic norms and some countries have tight restrictions for the procedure as couples should meet strong requirements regarding their age, fertility issues or family balance.
Sperm separation. The method of sperm separation is based upon the fact that Y-Chromosomes are smaller and faster and X-Chromosomes are bigger and slower. The average accuracy level of the given method is 80-90% depending upon the type of the chosen chromosome. Sperm separation procedure does not contemplate further invasive fertilization procedures. After sperm is separated a woman undergoes an IUI (intrauterine insemination) procedure that is artificial insemination procedure. Among the advantages of the IUI gender selection are high level of baby sex determination accuracy, lower cost (compare to PGD) and absence of non -invasive procedures. However, this method is not suitable for parents- to - be with serious fertility problems. Besides, despite the high accuracy of sex selection the ratio of women impregnation with this method does not exceed 15-25% and decreases in the course of women’s aging.
Prenatal testing method. This method can be considered a method of sex determination, not the gender choice as all the types of testing are conducted in the phase of the fetus's prenatal development. Prenatal testing method involves ultrasound diagnosis carried out in the 2nd trimester when the fetus’s genitalia can be visualized. The other types of prenatal diagnosis use maternal blood, womb fluid or cells from placenta in order to identify sex of the future child as all these materials contains genetic information about the fetus. The risk of incorrect determination does not exceed 3%. However, in several countries where there are serious prejudice regarding the child's sex such methods were prohibited due to the fact that couples wanted to terminate the pregnancy in case of undesirable results.
Nowadays the problem of infertility or threat of serious genetic problems is becoming much more urgent. European medicine known for its high quality standards and traditions of medical assistance offers the most advanced methods of solving the given problems. Understanding the importance and delicate nature of the fertility and gender selection issues European clinics provide their patients with full service package, comfort and complete confidentiality. As European fertility clinics value their reputation they give the opportunity to apply to and communicate with the experts having large experience in the field of reproductive medicine.
Gender selection procedures are known for their quite high price. However, the cost of the mentioned program will depend upon the chosen method. For example, the PGD method is often considered to be the most expensive as the complete course requires multiple procedures, hormonal drugs and other resources. The final cost will be determined after the problem the couple has is identified and complete program is accepted.