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Understanding Gender Selection During IVF

Vicken Sahakian
21 Sep 2020

Thanks to modern screening and embryo genetic testing during in vitro fertilization (IVF), a fertility doctor can determine the gender of a child before the implantation process. 

This is no longer the ideas of science fiction, but a part of the new reality of modern assisted reproduction.

Reproductive technologies have advanced significantly, and now lab tests can identify the gender of an embryo in the earliest stages of development. In conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF), these tests allow patients the option of gender selection at their personal fertility clinic. 

Curious to learn more about the role IVF plays in gender selection? We’ll cover the entire process of gender selection, how it works, and how accurate and successful it has proven to be. Learn if gender selection is the right option for you.

Reasons for Gender Selection During IVF

There are many reasons why a couple or individual would opt for gender selection. The primary reason for gender selection is family balancing. This essentially means that if you have always wanted a girl but have only had sons, family balancing is the act of using IVF to ensure you get to raise a baby girl. 

Another case would be if a couple is at risk to pass on a gender-based genetically transmitted disease, gender selection makes it more likely the couple will have a healthy girl or a boy depending on the type of disorder they can avoid thanks to IVF. 

Other cases may include a couple that has lost a child and wish to have another of the same sex, or perhaps the intended parents simply feel psychologically more equipped to parent one gender over the other.

There are deeply personal reasons for wanting to select a gender with IVF, and we aim to respect your decision. If you are wondering about gender selection and if it’s a good option for your needs, we can discuss this during the consultation process at our Los Angeles fertility clinic.

Whether the reason is medical or elective, the success rates for gender selection are extremely high using IVF with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) or preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). We are experienced in all techniques used for gender selection, but combined IVF with genetic testing is the only truly reliable approach.

Gender selection is an incredible service made possible by science and can help intended parents feel more prepared to raise their future child. However, this decision does require careful consideration as it requires a higher cost and may eventually lead to regret if a parent later would have preferred to learn of their child’s gender naturally.

The Role of PGD/PGS in Gender Selection

After the egg and sperm have been combined and fertilization has occurred, fertility doctors can examine the embryos. 

This involved preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), also known as preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), allows fertility doctors to determine if an embryo has any chromosomal abnormalities that could result in a birth defect or developmental issue.

In addition to identifying genetic issues and potential birth defects, PGD/PGS tests can also be used to determine the gender of your child. Fertility doctors can identify if an embryo carries two X chromosomes (female) or an X and a Y chromosome (male). From this, the gender of a baby is accurately determined.

How Accurate is Gender Selection During IVF?

Very accurate! Given a fertility doctor’s ability to identify XX or XY chromosomes in the embryo with PGD tests, the gender selection process is almost 100% accurate.

However, not all patients can produce healthy embryos of the desired gender because of factors related to age, egg supply, and sperm quality. In these cases, sperm or egg donation is a possibility for intended parents who wish to pursue gender selection. 

Possible Next Steps for Unused Embryos

If an embryo is not the gender you prefer, we can discuss various options for what to do with it. This embryo may still be viable, which means that if you would prefer not to dispose of it, the embryo could be donated to an infertile couple or individual. 

The embryo can also be donated to medical research, to facilitate a better understanding of fertility and development. Alternatively, it’s also possible to freeze the embryo to be used at a later time.

Discussing Gender Selection with your IVF clinic

There are many factors to consider when it comes to gender selection and IVF. Our fertility experts would be more than happy to discuss them with you at our Los Angeles fertility center. 

This will allow us to go over all of the pros and cons of the process, and what you should consider about it. We will help you make the right decision for your needs.

If you would like to learn more about gender selection during IVF and why it may be a good option to consider, we encourage you to contact our team of fertility doctors. You can reach Pacific Fertility Center by calling (310) 853-1440.

Note: This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided is for general educational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Speak to your doctor directly with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any information contained herein does not replace any care plan as determined by a physician. 

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