Choosing Baby's Gender - High and Low Tech Methods
My, haven't we come a long way? There was a time when choosing the sex of your baby was not really a choice - you just got what you got and most people we're quite happy with the outcome. Certainly there are some who are disappointed - but in most cases, they get over it very quickly and love the "choice" they got. However, there are others who never get over it and it becomes a painful for the child.
Stiff Criteria for Choosing Baby's Gender
Thanks to advanced methods of fertility treatments a doctor can create or identify embryos of a certain sex. It is only fair to say that today's methods of determining the sex of an embryo when you can still count the cell divisions aren't equally effective, affordable, or even available. The most predictable and accurate methods of sex-selection are extremely expensive (think in the tens of thousands). They involve invasive infertility treatments and fertility drugs with side effects. On top of that, you have to meet some pretty intense criteria before you're considered to be eligible for the techniques. In some cases your eligibility rests on:
· being married
· having at least one child of the opposite sex of the one you're trying for
· age limits
· hormone tests to ensure menopause isn't around the corner
In case you weren't aware, the fact is that Mother Nature has already put an extra block on the male side of the scale. Data released in 2007 indicates that there are more boys born every year than girls. However, that ratio is slowly changing over time.
Three Primary Methods for Choosing Baby's Gender
There are three primary high-tech methods of choosing the sex of your baby. Again, they are extremely expensive and the methods were designed for specific fertility and genetic issues, not so a couple can choose the sex of their baby. The procedures are done through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) also called artificial insemination (AI). Both methods use fertility drugs to ensure good egg supply and each has a different method of procedure. These methods are:
· Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). It is 100% effective and performed with IVF. During an IVF cycle eggs are fertilized with sperm in a petri dish. Three to five day old embryos are tested for gender and normalcy using only healthy, sex-specific embryos for implantation. It costs $20,000, is painful, and there's a very good chance of multiples at birth. Just one thing - you have to decide what to do with the embryos of the sex you didn't want.
· Microsort attempts to segregate girl-producing sperm from boy-producing sperm. Using IUI, the "right" sperm is placed into the uterus. About 90% successful for girls and 74% successful for boys. Little is known about the risks because it's a relatively new procedure. Pregnancy rate is 16% per cycle. Each cycle costs $3,000 if IUI is used. Fertility drugs add another $2,000 and if you need IVF in the end, add $12,400 per cycle.
· Ericsson or gradient method separates the faster swimming boy-producing sperm from the slower swimming, girl-producing sperm. Using IUI, the sperm is injected into the uterus. Effectiveness depends upon who you talk to - Ericsson claims 78-85% effective for boys and 73-75% effective for girls. It's inexpensive, noninvasive and relatively safe but there's no guarantee of success. Remember, there's a 50-50 chance for a boy or girl without any testing. The cost for this method is $600 per insemination.
Low-Tech Methods for Choosing Baby's Gender
Now for some low-tech methods that are at-home techniques that won't cost you a bundle and, who knows, maybe they'll work.
Shettles method is timed intercourse on specific days of your cycle. Shettles claims the technique is 75% effective (others give it 50% at best). Using the theory of fast-swimming sperm for boys and slower-swimming sperm for girls: if you want a boy, have sex as close to ovulation as possible and for a girl, have sex a couple or four days prior to ovulation. The downside is that you have to take your basal body temperature every day to figure out when you're ovulating. There's no guarantee of success.
Whelan method is also timed intercourse on specific days of your cycle. Whelan claims her method is 68% effective for boys and 56% effective for girls. Experts dispute the claims. Just switch Shettles method around. Whelan says chemical changes that may favor boy-producing sperm happen earlier in a woman's cycle. If you want a boy, have intercourse four to six days before your basal body temperature goes up. A girl is produced two to three days before ovulation. Again, you have to take your BBT every day to figure out when you ovulate and there's no guarantee of success.
You can buy Sex-Selection Kits that are based on Shettles method. There are separate boy and girl kits that include a thermometer, ovulation predictor test sticks, vitamins, herbal extracts, and douches that are supposedly gender specific. The Kit makers claim 96% accuracy and experts say "not likely". You have intercourse two to four days before ovulation if you want a girl and as close as possible to ovulation if you want a boy. The douche is intended to change the vaginal environment in order to influence the right chromosomes for the sex of choice. Herbs and vitamins are supposed to help with that as well. This Kit sells for $200
While the low-tech methods do not cause any problems, there's no question that the high-tech methods have caused no small stir when it comes to Designer Babies.
You can read more about gender selection in the article on this site.