CAN I CHOOSE MY BABY’S SEX DURING IN VITRO FERTILIZATION?
Usually, parents can find out the sex of their baby around 18th week. In some cases during in vitro fertilization the baby’s sex may be known even before the embryo transfer. Therefore, it is perfectly normal for future parents to be interested in whether they can have a boy or girl on request.
The answer is “yes”, but only when it’s necessary in order to have a healthy baby.
Yet there is good news for those who dream of having a boy. With IVF the chance of getting pregnant with a boy has been shown to be slightly higher – around 56%.
PREIMPLANTATION GENETIC DIAGNOSIS
There is a method by which the sex of the embryo can be found before the embryo transfer. This is the so-called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). The study is performed after multiple failed embryo transfers, as well as when there’s a high risk of inheriting a severe genetic disorder (cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, beta-thalassemia, even some cancers). Some hereditary diseases are significantly more prevalent in either sex, such as hemophilia in men.
PGD is a biopsy of a blastocyst embryo, ie on the fifth day of development. Cells from the part of the blastocyst that will become the placenta are aspirated for the biopsy, therefore the embryo can’t be harmed.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is a costly test that is only performed in the presence of indications. Its cost is not covered by the Center for Assisted Reproduction (CAR).
BOY OR GIRL ON REQUEST
Many parents dream of having both a boy and a girl. For some, this wish may come true with the second pregnancy while others seem to be “destined” to have only boys or girls. We must not forget that the chance of having a boy or girl is 50:50 and, as a whole, we cannot really help it.
There are methods besides pre-implantation diagnosis that can help us obtain an embryo of the desired sex. Sperm carrying an X chromosome are heavier and the Y chromosome carrying sperm are lighter. Based on these differences, by using centrifugation we can separate from “male” from “female” sperm. The method has a success rate of about 85% and can be freely applied in some countries (i.e. the USA).
However, things are different in Bulgaria. The use of preimplantation diagnosis without medical indications (risk of inheriting of a serious genetic disease) is illegal.