Congratulations! You’ve decided to embark on the exciting, joyful, and sometimes terrifying adventure of conceiving a child. Have you given any thought to whether you would like to have a boy or a girl? Over the years, mothers and fathers-to-be have come up with hundreds of different ways to ensure the gender of their new child. Which ones work? Which don’t? Read on to learn about gender selection and whether or not any of these methods will help to ensure that you deliver that perfect baby boy or girl.
What is Gender Selection?
Gender selection is defined as “a procedure used to choose the gender of a baby prior to conception.”
Some cultures prefer male offspring to female, and have even been known to selectively abort or abandon children of the undesirable gender. This unpleasant and at times unethical practice has maintained some support even in to the present day, despite the fact that that it has resulted in dramatic male-female imbalances in the population.
The most common methods for gender selection include The Ericsson Method, PGD (Preimplantation genetic diagnosis), timing methods, and sperm sorting.
There is also a great variety of ‘old wives tales’ concerning the things that you should do to ensure that your baby is the gender of your choice, but there is no scientific evidence backing any of these methods.
There are also a number of products on the market, such as the “Prince or Princess?” gender selection method, which many mothers-to-be have used successfully.
Boy or Girl: Do you have a Preference?
Have you decided if you have a preference concerning the gender of your new baby? Many people have a very strong opinion concerning whether the new addition to their family is a boy or a girl.
You may find yourself hoping for or wanting a boy because:
- You already have one or more girls.
- You grew up in a single parent household without female influence.
- You grew up in a large family without sisters.
- You are worried that you don’t know how to raise a girl.
Or any of a million more reasons. On the other hand, you may find yourself hoping for a baby girl if:
- You have already given birth to one or more boys.
- You grew up in a house with a single mother.
- You grew up without brothers.
- You want someone to spoil with girly things.
- You grew up as a tomboy yourself.
- Or you don’t know how to raise a boy.
When it comes down to it, the whole goal of a pregnancy is to deliver a happy and healthy baby. In spite of this, many people still show strong preferences and are willing to try just about anything to ensure the outcome of their pregnancy.
Gender Selection Methods
As we mentioned above, the most common gender selection methods are the Ericsson method, PGD, timing methods and sperm sorting. We’ll go over each method here in brief, and discuss each in detail in later articles.
The Ericsson Method
This method was created and named by Dr. Ronald J. Ericsson in the 1970s, and is still one of the most commonly used method for artificial gender selection in the world. The sperm to be used for implantation is separated by passing it through a blood protein known as human serum albumin. The slight differences in the weight of the sperm mean that the sperm that contains the male chromosomes is slightly lighter than their female counterpart. This method has about a 70% success rate.
PGD (Preimplantation genetic diagnosis)
This is a genetic prediction method that is used in conjunction with invitro fertilization. Once an egg is successfully fertilized and has grown to 6-8 cells in size, one cell can be safely removed without jeopardizing the health of the developing embryo. This method is usually utilized to check for genetic abnormalities and other health issues, but it can also be used to determine the gender of the baby by analyzing the genetic structure of the embryo cell. One the gender has been determined; the embryos of the desired gender can be implanted into the mother.
Timing methods rely on the knowledge of the mother to be, specifically concerning her ovulation dates. People who practice natural family planning often find that these methods are easy to incorporate into their normal tracking regimen.
Sperm sorting uses a technique known as flow cytometry to count the cells and separate the male and female sperm cells. It was originally pioneered during the 1980s, and is currently undergoing trials for human use. Scientists claim that it has a 90% success rate; potentially making it the most successful gender selection tool to date, but it is still considered an experimental treatment and is not yet endorsed by the FDA.
Find out Whether Gender Selection has worked
Once you’ve picked the gender of your baby, and gone though one or more of these procedures, how can you find out whether your gender selection method has worked?
The most obvious answer to this question is to wait. Normal prenatal doctor’s appointments will include a prenatal ultrasound at between 16-20 weeks gestation. While primarily designed to ensure that the baby is developing properly, it can also be used to discover the gender of the developing baby.
If you opt for genetic testing during your pregnancy, which is most often done in the first or second trimester, your doctor may opt for an amniocenteses. This procedure requires the insertion of a large needle into the uterus to take a sample of the amniotic fluid. This allows the doctor to examine the genetic structure for abnormalities and if the sample is pure enough, he or she may also be able to determine the gender of the developing baby.
Or, like those of us who had uncooperative little ones, you may just have to wait until they decide to come out and join your family! Good luck with your conception journey and may all of your pregnancies be easy and healthy!
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