During the IVF process, doctors can actually discover the gender of the baby. Here’s everything you need to know about gender selection and IVF.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the very common practice of when the male’s sperm is mixed with the woman’s egg outside of the woman’s womb. Once ready, the doctor will insert the fertilized egg within the woman’s womb and hope her body takes to it. If deemed successful, a woman will be birthing a baby in nine months.
A woman often turns to IVF when her attempts at getting pregnant are unsuccessful. Lately, it’s been discovered that doctors can actually discover the gender of the sperm before combining it with the woman’s egg, meaning parent actually select the gender they’d like to have through the art of science. This, of course, is deemed controversial because parents are seen “playing around” with fate. Should gender really matter as long as the woman has a healthy pregnancy? Well, that’s up to the parents to decide but until then, we have some IVF facts potential parents may not know.
YOU WON’T NEED IVF IF YOU DON’T HAVE TROUBLE CONCEIVING
The whole point of IVF is to give anyone who wants to be parents, whether a couple or a single woman, the opportunity to safely get pregnant. Trying to get pregnant can really take a toll on someone, so IVF is a way of making this easier.
However, if you’ve never tried getting pregnant before but want the help of professionals to ensure a safe pregnancy, you may be out of luck. Do it the natural way before intervening.
GENDER SELECTION ONLY APPLIES IF YOU’RE GOING THROUGH IVF
Let’s say a couple can get pregnant on their own without the help of IVF, but they only want to go through IVF so that their baby will have a certain gender. Unfortunately for them, that’s not possible at the time. IVF is specifically for people who can’t get pregnant themselves.
Just because a couple wants to have a baby girl or boy doesn’t mean they can just go through the long process just to ensure they’re having the gender of their dreams.
THEY’LL CHOOSE THE HEALTHIEST EMBRYOS OUT OF THE BUNCH
According to CCRM Fertility, once embryos are created, some doctors screen them to see which are the healthiest of the bunch. Will the embryos be strong enough to grow safely throughout those nine months?
This kind of screening is called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (or PGD). Moms might not know that doctors can actually screen for chromosomal issues and imbalances. If there is an indiscretion, they may try and find a healthier embryo.
GENDER SELECTION IS AN ADDITIONAL COST
Unfortunately to say, just because a couple is going through IVF, doesn’t mean they can automatically find out the gender of their unborn baby without an additional cost (mainly because there is still more testing to be done).
Now, IVF is expensive as it is. VeryWell Family notes that one IVF costs around $12,000. What’s crazier is that number doesn’t even include any of the medications a woman may need throughout the cycle. If money isn’t an issue for mom, then screening for gender can be an additional $1,000-$3,000.
DIFFERENT GENDERS HAVE DIFFERENT CHARACTERISTICS
Baby science truly is magical. We’ve come so far and have given couples (or a single woman who wants to be a parent) the wonderful chance of becoming a parent.
Through gender selection in IVF, doctors are able to differentiate the genders of sperm. According to CCRM Fertility, “‘female’ sperm is a little heavier and slower and more likely to survive longer than a ‘male’ sperm which burns out a little faster.”
THERE’S A NEW SCIENCE THAT MAY BE CHEAPER WHEN PARENTS PICK THEIR EMBRYO’S GENDER
Through a new sperm separation technique, researchers in Japan realized they may be able to tell a sperm by its gender before fertilization takes place.
Unlike the other process that costs between $1,000-$3,000, this sperm separation may be cheaper because they can identify the gender through the sperm’s movement, according to The Guardian.
THERE IS NO HARM IS GENE-EDITING
Some people see gene editing (selecting a specific gender) as harmful. Will poking and prodding affect the way an embryo forms in the womb? And what about life after it’s born?
As it turns out, gene editing isn’t harmful, which is something that moms might not know. Dr. Mark Sauer, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN that so far there’s been no downfall to gender selection. After millions of babies are born safely through IVF, there seems to be no high risk to the embryo.
FROZEN SPERM CAN ALSO BE USED FOR GENDER SELECTION
It’s common these days women and men to freeze their eggs or sperm in hopes of having a healthy baby one day. With couples waiting longer and longer to have kids, freezing eggs and sperm is a safe and smart option. But what happens when a couple decides to have kids with the sperm/eggs they’ve frozen? Can IVF and gender selection still be possible?
According to Fertility Docs, frozen sperm and fresh sperm have the same exact assessment when going through IVF and gender selection. So, if a man froze his sperm five years ago in hopes of one day being able to create an embryo, he’s in luck.
NOT EVERY COUNTRY ALLOWS GENDER SELECTION
According to CNN, countries like Canada and the UK are not allowing gender selection (yet). Concerned that gender selection will lead to a surplus of one gender to the other, these countries are avoiding some possible issues that can happen in the future.
For instance, some countries in Asia prefer having boys which could lead to areas over-populated with one gender than the other.
THEY’RE WORKING ON A WAY TO CHOOSE YOUR BABY’S GENDER WITHOUT IVF.
As we now know, gender selection isn’t possible (for now) without IVF. However, according to CNN, a process called intrauterine insemination could be a way for a couple to select the gender of their embryo.
Intrauterine insemination is when the male and female sperm are separated. Unfortunately, the science thus far isn’t 100% effective. That doesn’t mean that the percentage won’t get better with time, however.
By Layne GIBBONS