Gender Selection

Also known as 'family planning' or 'family balancing'

By Sarah Leavitt, Medical Research EditorLast modified: January 17, 2012

IVF With Gender Selection

The idea of gender selection is controversial. Some countries allow it, other countries don’t. Some states allow it while its neighbor doesn’t. Furthermore, some clinics allow it and others don’t.

Despite the controversy, IVF with gender selection is becoming more popular as parents decide they want to ‘plan’ their families. There are different methods of performing gender selection. IVF with gender selection, also called family planning, is an IVF procedure that either analyzes the gender chromosomes of healthy embryos or uses s sperm sample that is more concentrated in X or Y chromosomes.

IVF with gender selection uses pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), an infertility treatment designed to prevent the inheritance of genetic diseases. In the procedure for IVF with PGD, doctors study the chromosomes of an embryo to ensure that diseased embryos are not re-implanted into the uterus. IVF with PGD ensures parents have healthy children.

The procedure for IVF with gender selection can be similar to IVF with PGD. In fact, patients undergoing IVF with PGD for preventing genetic disease may also select the gender of their child in the same procedure (depending on the legality of country or state the patient is in). IVF with gender selection involves using PGD to tests either the X or Y chromosomes in order to determine the sex of the embryo.

Couples can also use donated sperm in another procedure, IVF with sperm donation for gender selection. This procedure does not use PGD but rather, fertilizes female eggs with sperm that has higher concentrations of either the X or Y chromosomes. This procedure is based on the fact that sperm with the Y chromosome travel faster than sperm with the X chromosome. Therefore, infertility specialists can obtain sperm samples that are more concentrated in X chromosomes or Y chromosomes.

Some couples have passionate feelings about the gender of their children. A family with four boys may ardently desire a girl. Regardless of one’s reason, it is important that patients understand the controversy of PGD for gender selection. Patients interested in IVF with gender selection should be sure to research where the procedure is legal. Many places in the world do not allow gender selection.

Procedure for IVF with Gender Selection

The procedure for IVF with gender selection enables parents to predetermine the gender of their child before implanting the embryo back into the mother's uterus. The procedure for gender selection can be carried out in two different ways: pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or with measurements of donated sperm. 

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