PGD: Can You Choose the Sex of Your Baby?

PGD: Can You Choose the Sex of Your Baby?

While the early days of gender selection unleashed a flurry of concerns about sexism and imbalance in the number of females vs. males born, such ethical dilemmas have faded into the background. In fact, a large-scale analysis of births where the child’s gender was chosen beforehand found no bias toward either sex in most cultures. 

Parents may have a number of reasons for increasing the odds in their favor of giving birth to one sex rather than the other. One common reason is to avoid genetic disease that are more likely transmitted through one gender, such as:

Parents who thus far only have children of one sex might also desire the experience of raising the opposite sex. Whatever your reasons for preferring that your next (or first) baby be a particular gender, a combination of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) increases your odds for achieving your goal. 

At Noble Fertility Center in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood in New York City, Peter L. Chang, MD, and our team offer gender selection services. The most precise gender selection method is PGD, which also allows us to screen embryos for genetic diseases and chromosomal abnormalities to increase your chances of a healthy baby and reduce your risk for a miscarriage. 

Choosing the baby’s sex requires IVF

Although you may read online about methods that increase your chances of having male or female babies, none is backed by science. Of course, if gender selection is only mildly of interest to you, those alternative methods might be fun to try. But please discuss them with your doctor first, because some methods could be harmful.

If you’re serious about gender selection, whether for family balance or your future baby’s health, PGD allows your doctor to only implant embryos of the desired gender. In order to gestate an embryo that has been tested for sex and genetic diseases, you must undergo IVF.

Unlike natural conception, conception with IVF takes place in the lab. The female partner takes fertility drugs so she releases multiple eggs in a single cycle. We then remove those eggs in a simple in-office procedure and transfer them to our laboratory.

The male partner then provides a sperm donation. We fertilize the eggs by injecting a single sperm into each egg, which increases the chance of the egg becoming an embryo.

We test embryos carefully 

We grow the embryos in a culture for several days until they each have between 6-8 cells. We then remove one or two cells from each embryo. The other cells aren’t affected at all by this process.

Each embryonic biopsy is tested with two methods: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The PCR test creates multiple copies of the gene we’re testing for, so we can examine the DNA. The PCR test also allows us to determine the sex of the embryo. 

With FISH, we can count the number of chromosomes in the cell to be sure they’re normal in number, location, and structure. This allows us to identify conditions such as Down syndrome. Chromosome counting also verifies the embryo’s gender.

We implant an embryo with your choice of sex

If you and your partner prefer one gender over the other for health or other reasons, we only implant a healthy embryo of your stated preference. In our experience, this process results in a child with your choice of sex 99% of the time.

Build the healthy, varied family of your dreams by contacting us for a consultation about sex selection with PGD today. You can call our friendly staff at 925-230-9471 or use our online booking form.

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