Gender selection allows determination of the gender of the child to be born. Couples may be interested in this service for several reasons including gender specific genetic diseases or family balancing. Importantly, this technique does not “create” male or female embryos. It is however, effective at selecting either male or female embryos to be placed into the mother’s womb.
Gender Specific Genetic Disease
If a gender specific genetic mutation is known to be present in one of the parents, gender selection poses a viable means of avoiding that disease. For example, certain genetic disorders (e.g. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy) result from a genetic mutation on the X chromosome, which is a sex chromosome. If an intended mother carries the mutation on one of her X chromosomes (although she is not affected with the disease), there is a 50% likelihood of having an affected male offspring, while there is essentially a 0% chance of having an effected female offspring. In this situation, a couple may desire to select only female embryos to be transferred. If, on the other hand, an intended father is a carrier of a Y-linked mutation (e.g. a deletion leading to low sperm count), a couple may wish to perform sex selection for a female offspring. Females, who do not have a Y chromosome, would not be affected, while male offspring may be infertile.
Testing for such mutations and the baby's gender can be performed during pregnancy by invasive prenatal tests such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. However, if an affected baby is detected the patient would be faced with a difficult decision of whether to terminate the pregnancy (which may not be an option for some couples) or to continue the pregnancy and deliver a baby that is affected by a specific genetic disease. Such a scenario becomes unlikely when gender selection is performed in advance.
PGD & Gender Selection
Gender selection gives our patients a more involved approach to starting a family.
Gender selection may also allow couples to balance the number of male or female offspring in their family. For example, couples who have already had several children of only one gender (e.g. all girls), may be interested in having a child of the opposite gender next. If the sole purpose of having another child is to obtain the desired gender, and/or if a couple would consider terminating a pregnancy if the gender of the baby was found to be (later on in the pregnancy by CVS or amniocentesis) of the "undesired" type, gender selection of embryos may be a reasonable option for that couple.
A variety of conventional and non-conventional methods exist for gender selection, all with limited success. The most accurate available method is PGD. With accuracy nearing 100%, PGD has been established as a safe and effective method for gender selection. CFG is delighted to offer couples gender selection by PGD.