Phases Involved in Gender Selection
Many people go against this opportunity because their perception of the process is somewhat unnatural. While nothing is altered chemically, the process of choosing the gender of your baby is still one of the most advanced yet critical procedures. This is due to the timing it depends on even though skills and knowledge may be set to do the impossible.
There are a lot of methods being used but using the collective differences between the X-bearing sperm and the Y-bearing ones is the most common. Geneticists base it from the female sperm (X) being slow, less mobile, yet active with a round head, whereas the male sperm (Y) being small, quick, and active yet delicate and short-lived.
With an aim for accuracy, here’s how the general process happens:
The mother’s job is to adopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain it, and they also need to take the medication in order to prepare for the IVF sex selection. Taking medication is to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once there are enough mature eggs to preserve, it is retrieved to be fertilised in the laboratory with her partner’s sperm. All the eggs are not fertilised at the same time. Multiple ones are collected for back up; just in case, the initial procedure wasn’t successful. Preserving eggs this way avoids various invasive procedures considering the mom’s behalf.
There are two major types of pre-implantation methods that can be used for social sex preference. Both ways actively render the second sex chromosome to be either an X or a Y chromosome.
IVF/Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
This is a method in which a mature egg is chosen and fertilised by a technique called “in vitro” fertilisation (IVF). As the fertilised egg reaches 6-8 cell size, a single cell is removed via an incision into the zona pellucida (the outer membrane of the fertilised egg). This cell is sent for genetic analysis to know whether the eggs are healthy and whether they carry the X or Y chromosome.
via Ericsson method
This method separates male sperm apart from female sperm by making them pass through a column filled with human serum albumin, a blood protein. As it enters the serum, it considers the differential bearing between X and Y chromosomes in terms of weight. X being more substantial because of the extra leg while Y pushes deeper because of their lighter performance. It’s just a small difference, but it’s enough to assist in IVF gender selection, creating separate layers of saturated male and female sperm. These layers of gender-selected sperm end having high concentrations but not pure. This impurity explains the 30% chance of failure in doing this method.
Note that this 30 per cent chance of failure of the Ericsson method makes the PGD more desirable and much preferred.
As the embryo continuously grows, it is artificially inseminated to a woman’s viable uterus. This time, with a guarantee of the preferred gender.
In using the Ericsson Method, there’s a tendency to fertilise the mother’s mature eggs with the less preferred gender sperm as it gets all samples fertilised. But if it’s not a baby owning the preferred gender, they dispose of it.
In IVF/PGD, only the embryo tested of the preferred gender is the one injected back to the mother’s uterus. Its success rates are very high, and it is highly recommended to couples who won’t accept a child because of the undesired gender.
You can still make sex selection around this time by prenatal sex discernment. Followed up by selective abortion of any offspring of the unwanted sex. With prenatal sex discernment, the mother’s blood will be tested of small amounts of fetal DNA within. This procedure is reliable, 98% of the time if the samples are not taken later than the 7th week of pregnancy.