Gender selection can help patients have the family they’ve always dreamed of
In the past, many people found themselves wishing that they could have a baby of a certain sex. This was once just a dream for hopeful parents. However, gender selection, also known as family balancing, makes this a possibility for fertility patients today.
Our Las Vegas fertility center delivers the latest fertility treatments to help patients welcome healthy babies. One of our leading-edge offerings allows our physicians to transfer an embryo of the patient’s desired sex. As a result, patients can come one step closer to welcoming a baby boy or a baby girl into their family.
We feel it is important to let patients know that this option does not allow people to determine whether an embryo is male or female. It simply allows us to determine the sex of each embryo. Our team then uses this information to transfer an embryo of the desired sex to the uterus of the female patient or the gestational surrogate.
Why might someone decide to pursue gender selection?
Our Las Vegas fertility center team finds that there are two main reasons why patients pursue this family-building option. One reason relates to preventing sex-linked disorders in their future children. The other has to do with wanting to have a child of a certain sex after already having multiple children of the opposite sex.
Here is a closer look at these two different reasons for selecting this family-building option.
Medical gender selection can help patients avoid having a child with a sex-linked genetic disorder. For example, muscular dystrophy and hemophilia come from the mother. However, they only affect male children. Additionally, other conditions, such as Fragile X syndrome, affect one sex more than the other. As a result, this option can help ensure that the doctor only transfers a female embryo to the uterus.
Elective family balancing occurs when the parents have a preference as to whether they have a boy or a girl. This is common when parents have multiple children of one gender and want to have a child of the opposite gender to balance their family. For example, a family might have three boy children, so they want to make sure their new bundle of joy is a little girl. In other cases, a family may have lost a child and would like to have another baby of that same sex.
Our fertility specialists are happy to help patients pursue medical or elective family balancing. We believe that you deserve to have the family of your dreams.
How does IVF factor into family balancing?
Gender selection is an option that patients can select as part of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. This is a highly effective and advanced treatment that can help overcome a wide variety of female and male infertility causes. It can also help gay couples and single men welcome biological children into their family.
The first step of IVF is ovarian stimulation. The woman who will be providing her eggs (either an egg donor or the intended mother) will take injectable fertility medications. These medications stimulate the development of multiple egg-containing follicles. The woman will come to our office every few days for monitoring while taking this medication.
When the woman’s eggs are mature, she will take an hCG shot to trigger ovulation (the release of the eggs from the ovaries). Then, about 36 hours later, she will come to our Las Vegas fertility center for an egg retrieval procedure. She will receive light sedation and pain medication during this short outpatient procedure.
The mature eggs will go to the IVF laboratory. There, an embryologist will combine them with sperm from the intended father or a sperm donor to achieve fertilization. This process can occur by placing the eggs and sperm together in a petri dish or using a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
After allowing the resulting embryos to grow, an embryologist will take a sample biopsy of each one between Day 5 and Day 7 of development. This very safe biopsy provides enough DNA for genetic testing. However, it should not harm the embryo. From there, the samples will undergo preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) or preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic disorders (PGT-M).
What happens after the test results come back?
Both forms of preimplantation genetic testing can work for gender selection by indicating which embryos are female and which ones are male. However, PGT-A also provides information about which embryos are chromosomally normal. In contrast, PGT-M can identify which embryos carry specific inheritable genetic illnesses.
Once the doctor receives the test results, they will work together with the patient to decide which embryo to transfer. The goal is to transfer a chromosomally normal embryo that is of the desired sex. The embryo transfer is a quick and easy procedure. The doctor will place a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) through the vagina and cervix to reach the uterus. Once in place, the doctor will deposit an embryo into the uterus of the intended mother or the gestational surrogate.
Moving forward, our Las Vegas fertility center team will monitor the woman for pregnancy. After confirming that the woman is pregnant, we will continue to monitor her for several weeks until transferring her care to the woman’s OB/GYN.
What are the risks of gender selection?
The risks of family balancing is similar to the risks of a standard IVF cycle. This includes the possibility of the woman developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in response to the injectable fertility medications needed for an IVF cycle. Thankfully, the doctors at FCLV provide careful monitoring, which greatly reduces the risks of this rare complication.
One more risk that is worth mentioning is a very slight risk of embryo damage during the biopsy needed for PGT. Embryo biopsies are generally very safe because embryologists only take a sample from the outer layer of the embryo. This part is what becomes the placenta. However, there is a slight risk of damaging the embryo during this process.
What is the success rate of gender selection?
There are no guarantees in medicine, but family balancing is very successful. There don’t appear to be any reports of patients having a baby of the wrong gender when using family balancing.
As for the likelihood of conceiving using IVF with family balancing, the success rates vary by age. These rates generally align with the standard success rates of patients using IVF with PGT.
We are proud to offer gender selection because it allows hopeful parents to build their family – the way they want it. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our Las Vegas fertility center to learn more and get on the path to starting or growing your family today.