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Facts on IVF Gender Selection

Posted by Melanie Powell on
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Facts on IVF Gender Selection

Gender selection has been a controversial decision for many. Assumptions build-up, but it’s better to know the facts first before having a say on IVF Gender Selection. Defined as an attempt to control the sex of the offspring to achieve a desired one, let’s take a look at the other facts for consideration:

The goal is a healthy pregnancy and not a specific gender

Most people think it’s just out of whim how gender selection is performed. A doctor from the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine’s cleared in an article published by parents.com. That in his clinic, IVF gender selection is not offered initially, until a genetic disorder is linked to a specific gender, then it is considered.

For example, if having a girl had a higher percentage of being born with fatal diseases or conditions considering the parents’ chromosomal match, gender selection could be presented as an option. He also adds that just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should. Parents who go extensive lengths to bear a child are assisted in having one benevolently, assuring the best health they could possess once conceived.

Gender selection is achieved most naturally

There is no chemical alteration done concerning baby gender selection. While the gender of an embryo depends on the chromosomes carried by the sperm, it goes through sperm sorting where the weight of the gender carrying chromosome is considered. Theoretically, an ‘X’ chromosome seems to have another leg compared to the ‘Y’ chromosome from under the microscope (hence the name). Therefore, the ‘X’ chromosome is notably more substantial than the ‘Y’ chromosome. As the preferred gender gets sorted out, a concentrated amount of it is used to perform IVF or ‘in vitro fertilisation’ of the egg.

However, this is not preferred as much as Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). This is a process where an IVF-fertilised egg’s chromosomes are studied carefully by a geneticist as it matures to a 6-8 cell size. While extracting a single cell does not harm the embryo, it is also analysed of the gender. Once acceptable genetics and desired sex become compatible, the fertilised egg is then placed back into the mother’s womb.

Gender selection is not for everybody

Parents who have no fertility issues, to begin with, are not considered eligible for gender selection. Because it is unethical to be just shopping whatever gender it is that you decide to have, it is deemed morally inappropriate too to practice this according to a particular committee. If the new reproductive technologies will be used to avoid giving birth to children who tend to suffer from X-linked genetic disorders, then that’s the time the committee acknowledges it ethically appropriate.

The total cost of the whole procedure is not a joke

Not all clinics offer this service since gender selection is an extended help only to those who can’t conceive a child naturally. The IVF procedure with embryonic screening alone costs somewhere from US$20,000 to US$25,000 per attempt. Requesting for a gender reveal, which is considered an extra cost, is somewhere around US$1,000 to US$5,000. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, 61,000 babies were conceived by IVF in 2012, which accounts for only 1.5% of the 3.9 million births tallied in the US that year. That’s only the number you may call ‘privileged’ in a monetary sense.

Gender selection is not something new

There were Greek and Roman stories that listed a lot of sex determination claiming that it affects the gender of offspring reproduced. There is tying of left and right testicles, heat and cold, and sperm crossing. During the 18th century, a French book called The Art of Boys has mentioned an extreme method of ensuring children of only one gender. Its author suggested that by removing a testicle or ovary, children of the opposite sex may be guaranteed. Meaning, if the father will remove one testicle, all children will be female. And if the mother would remove one ovary, then the family will be guaranteed only of boys. Though all of these stories were not proven right, the topic of gender already had lingered and perhaps given time for research and tests.