Is it possible to choose the sex of the baby during IVF?


The preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) procedure allows us to select the embryo of the “right” sex. This is often considered necessary. After all, the parents-to-be need to bear a perfectly healthy offspring without any hereditary diseases transmitted by the sex chromosomes.

Gender formation of the child

The baby’s belonging to a particular sex will be decided by the genetic material that enters with the male sex cell. There are 2 X chromosomes in the egg cell, while the sperm cell has X and Y chromosomes. Accordingly, we should expect a girl when the X chromosomes fuse, and a boy when the X and Y fuse.

Genetic information is formed in the fetus already in the first stages of development. After fertilization, the embryos have only the female sex characteristics. The organs of a girl/boy are inferred from the X or Y chromosome.

Is sex planning in IVF possible?

Given the fact that this type of fertilization takes place outside the uterus, choosing the sex of the baby is realistic. After all, the baby initially develops in vitro under an artificial regime similar to a woman’s body.

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is performed before IVF. This analysis is performed by specialists at the molecular-biological level. The procedure is usually performed on embryos that are already 3-5 days old. Through PGD, doctors can identify more than 150 abnormalities in the fetus, including:

  • Hemophilia;
  • Down syndrome;
  • Cystic fibrosis.

This process involves selecting embryos that do not carry hereditary pathologies. For this purpose, a biopsy of one of the blastomers at the division stage is performed. Its genetic material is carefully studied under a microscope.

It is possible to determine the sex of the fetus by performing a PGD. The main goal of this procedure is to select embryos without abnormalities. It is only performed if the family has diseases that are related to gender. Only healthy embryos are implanted inside the uterus of the expectant mother.

Indications for PGD

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is recommended for couples in special cases:

  1. The procedure is indicated for those couples whose chromosome abnormalities in the karyotype are detected. In such cases, there is a very high risk of transferring the existing abnormalities to the offspring;
  2. In cases where specialists are unable to identify the causes of implantation failure. The embryos implanted inside the uterine cavity may contain genetic abnormalities that make the development of the fetus impossible;
  3. Previous miscarriages due to embryo abnormalities;
  4. Indicated for women over the age of 35. The quality of eggs gets worse with age and the risk of various abnormalities within the chromosomes of the embryo increases.

The essence of sex planning

In an IVF procedure, an egg is fertilized in a test tube by placing sperm there. The sperm is injected to the female germ cell and its fertilization is observed. A sperm with a random genotype randomly penetrates the egg, forming a zygote.

Fertilization of the ICSI type occurs in a completely different way. With intracytoplasmic sperm injection, the selected sperm is implanted into the woman’s germ cell. This operation is done under a microscope, as it is microsurgical. IVF-ICSI is usually performed in such cases:

  • Severe male infertility;
  • If the egg has a thick capsule;
  • When previous IVF procedures have been unsuccessful.

After a successful fertilization inside the test tube, the embryo is subjected to a thorough examination 3-5 days after the fusion of the male and female germ cells.

The diagnostics performed are necessary for:

  1. Sex determination;
  2. Verify the presence of hereditary abnormalities in the fetus.

If the result of the test excludes the presence of an abnormality, then specialists transfer the embryo inside the uterus of the future mother.

If you need to rule out a hereditary abnormality or simply choose the sex of your future child, conduct a PGD before IVF. The sex of the child is determined correctly by 100%.

After performing artificial insemination, the remaining embryos that passed PGD are frozen. This is necessary to reinsert them inside the patient’s uterus if the attempt to get pregnant ends in failure.

By the way, in some countries preimplantation genetic diagnosis is generally prohibited.

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