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Gender Selection: Is It Right for You?

By HCRM on March 15, 2018


Gender selection, sometimes called family balancing, refers to the processes by which parents attempt to control the sex of their unborn child. These attempts include both the use of natural methods and selective screening of embryos, or preimplantation genetic diagnosis, during the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The doctors and other health professionals at Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, P.C. in Omaha, NE, realize that prospective parents want to know more about gender selection. It is an important and controversial topic with many issues they must consider.

woman holding infant

How Is It Possible to Select Your Child's Gender?

There are several methods to achieve patients’ treatment goals:

Natural Gender Selection

Some couples try to naturally influence their child's gender by strategically timing the moment of conception. According to this theory, those who conceive just before ovulation have a better chance of producing a girl, while conceiving during or soon after ovulation increases the odds of having a boy. There is some biological basis for this, but most experts believe that there are too many variables to significantly change the 50-50 odds of having a baby of either gender.

Selection from PGD

For prospective parents undergoing IVF, however, gender selection is a realistic possibility. Most fertility clinics, including the Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, perform preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to screen embryos for genetic disorders and other potential health issues before being transferred to the mother. This process improves the chance of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. PGD can also identify embryos by sex. This means that fertility clinics who choose to can allow couples to select the gender of their baby.

Sperm Sorting

This technique for selecting gender involves separating X-chromosome (female) sperm from Y-chromosome (male) sperm, to influence the gender of the offspring. It is often used to prevent certain X chromosome-linked conditions. Thus, it allows couples at higher genetic risk for a certain condition to improve the chances of a healthy baby by selecting the lower-risk gender. This technique can also be used to select gender purely for reasons of preference.

The Ethics of Gender Selection

Proponents of gender selection believe it is just another form of technological advancement. They feel it is the parent's right to use this technology to balance their family's gender distribution however they desire.

Those opposed to it feel that it is morally wrong. They believe that the sole purpose of PGD and other screening procedures should be to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby, and not to select the baby's gender. They fear that it could lead to other forms of artificial selection that could upset the balance of human nature. Others feel that gender selection is a form of sex discrimination that can lead to the predominance of one gender over the other.

In the end, prospective parents must decide for themselves whether gender selection is the proper course for them to follow.

Learn More About Your Options

Hopeful parents who want to know more about gender selection, or who are having any type of reproductive issues, are encouraged to call Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine. Contact us online to learn more and schedule an appointment.

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Each and every staff member at Heartland Center is tremendous. Dr. Maclin is a woman of grace, and a terrific medical doctor. She is a world-class surgeon, and we are so grateful to know her.

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