Gender Selection

gender selection


October 2017

Gender Selection

A lot of people stay surprised after hearing that technically, there is a possibility to choose baby’s gender. This is indeed true, however, not everyone is eligible to do so. Gender selection  will usually have a serious reasoning behind it and will normally occur during an infertility treatment, such as IVF.


Gender Selection during Preimplantation Genetic Diagnoses

After In Vitro fertilization, before embryo is implanted into uterus, it will sometimes be screened for genetic disorders. The procedure is called preimplantation genetic diagnosis(PGD). It includes removing and screening one or two cells from an embryo. During PGD, apart from genetic disorders , it is possible to check embryo’s gender by observing sex chromosomes, X and Y. (XX indicates a girl, XY – a boy) After PGD, healthiest embryos of the desired sex will be implanted into mother’s or surrogate’s womb.


Why PGD and gender selection?

In case of previous unsuccessful pregnancies and family history of genetic disorders, PGD definitely allows to implant the healthiest embryos. PGD is a complete chromosomal analysis and in specific cases, increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy.

While some people have ethical concerns about gender selection, they fail to consider factors that influence parents’ decisions. For example, there exists a number of gender-linked diseases that are hereditary. One gender may be carrier of a certain disease and live unproblematically with it, while the opposite gender suffers from the lifelong symptoms. If family has a history of gender specific illnesses, gender selection can protect their baby from the same condition.

Sometimes parents go for gender selection for the sake of “family balancing” – having kids of both genders.


Who is eligible?

When parents have no fertility issues and choose IVF for gender selection solely, surrogacy agencies and clinics will have to turn them down. On the other hand, when couple has proven fertility issues, are married and already have a child, they can be allowed to choose baby’s gender if family balancing is their priority. Couples with fertility issues and family history that requires gender selection, will also be able to do so.

After PGD, the remaining embryos of  both genders can be frozen and used later. This is for the case if a current transfer is unsuccessful or couple decides to have more children later. Thanks to the technological advances, frozen embryo transfer has the same success rate as the fresh transfer.

As already mentioned, in specific cases, PGD is the way to a successful pregnancy. However, the procedure is not recommended if there is a limited number of embryos as PGD can diminish the number of them. For example, if a couple having fertility issues does not have problematic family history, performing PGD is not recommended. Gender selection and screening for chromosomal abnormalities, only happens when there is an urge to do so.  Otherwise, surrogacy agencies and clinics will only be concerned with treating and dealing with current fertility issues or specific requirements.

Due to legitimate concerns, gender selection is not possible in every country where surrogacy agencies operate. Mexico, Ukraine and some Asian countries are on the list of popular destinations.


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