The possibility of choosing the sex or in other words the gender of your future baby has been a breakthrough in the field of medical genetics. Why would couples want to do sex selection?
- Family balancing; some couples would like to have both boys and girls.
- Choosing the sex in families with sex chromosome linked diseases prevents future parents from having an affected child.
Misconceptions about gender selection?
Many of you probably don’t know that you can choose the sex of your future baby! This procedure is now available for everyone not just families with infertility problems. The common misconception about this procedure has been that it requires undergoing an ICSI or IVF trial, so it is only for people having problems conceiving.
The procedure relies on examining the sex chromosomes of the embryos obtained by IVF or ICSI and only transferring the desired gender.
Ways of gender selection
Preimplantation genetic testing for Aneuploidies (PGT-A)
New techniques enable us to examine all the chromosomes of an embryo from a single cell sample. A couple of cell are removed (biopsied) from each embryo at the blastocyst stage. Blastocysts are embryos which have reached day 5 or 6 and are at an early developmental stage just a couple of cell divisions after fertilization of the egg. A blastocyst is formed by 100 cells which are arranged in an inner and outer layer. The inner cell mass will eventually form the baby and the outer cell layer (called the trophectoderm) contributes into forming the placenta.
In PGT- A. We examine all the embryo’s chromosomes for potential genetic abnormalities. The last chromosome no 23 is the sex chromosome which consists of either XX Female or XY Male. PGT- A allows us to identify this and thus only transfer the embryos with the desired gender. This test is 100% accurate for choosing the desired gender.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
PGD is an advanced technique used for checking the number of chromosome copies and major translocations. The last chromosome numbered 23 is the sex chromosome. PGD can tell us the gender of the baby. This is done by taking a number of cells from each embryo obtained through IVF or ICSI. We then only transfer the embryos with the desired sex and healthy chromosome pattern.
Why couples do gender selection
- Preventing sex linked genetic disorders: The most important reason for couples to do gender selection is preventing gender-specific genetic disorders. For example, hemophilia and muscular dystrophy is passed down through the maternal line affecting and passing only to male offspring. In this case, couples use the technique of sex selection to have a baby girl clear from these sex-linked diseases.
- Gender selection gives families the opportunity to balance their family in the desired manner. Some families keep having children until they have the desired sex, which is economically straining. Sex selection in cases like these can work as a contraceptive. It gives families a better chance to provide appropriate education, higher level of care and emotional support. We highly recommend families to have sex selection to organize their lives and give them the opportunity to plan their future balanced family as they see fit for their personal situation
- Parents’ emotional needs; some families may have lost one of their children and aren’t able to get over it. Having in cases a child of the same sex as the lost child and in other cases maybe the opposite depending on their personal situation and psyche, may help them to move on and overcome the loss as they are preparing for the newborn.
- Cultural reasons; In some cultures, it is a societal catastrophe if for instance there is no male heir to carry on the family line or for parents to rely on in old age. This is very common in Arab culture. Here gender selection can offer parents a solution to take away from such psychological stress.
Gender selection and IVF procedure
The gender of an embryo is determined by the sperm which maintains two chromosomes X and Y. A sperm can carry either the X or the Y chromosome, female eggs carry only an X chromosome. PGD is used to determine the sex of your baby through an IVF or ICSI procedure. PGD apart from letting us choose embryos of the desired gender give us an opportunity to choose embryos that are genetically healthy.
During the ICSI procedure, the fertilized egg is left in a laboratory dish for 5 days to grow to a full embryo. After several days of divisions when the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage, 4-6 cells (samples) are taken by laser and microscopic needle to be examined. The cells sample is analyzed by advanced technology and the desired sex embryos are transferred back to the woman’s uterus for implantation.
Good quality excess embryos could be frozen for later use.
Gender selection at Bedaya hospital
Bedaya Hospital was the first to spread the concept of determining the gender of the embryos in Egypt and the Middle East.
Couples seeking to do IVF or ICSI for gender “sex” selection have reached 40% of our total IVF/ICSI cases attending the hospital.
Bedaya Hospital’s high gender selection success rates;
- Bedaya Hospital is characterized by their high gender selection success rates due to the expertise of our embryology team to take cell biopsies with microscopic needles without affecting the embryo.
- Using appropriate treatment protocols for these cases so that we can extract as many good quality eggs as possible to increase the chances of finding healthy embryos of the desired sex without compromising the patient’s health.
- Cooperating with the most important genetic centers and university research centers in the USA and Europe to keep up to date in the ever-changing world of genetics and assisted reproduction
- Informing the patient! Bedaya Hospital’s trained team of medical coordinators thoroughly inform and share all steps of the procedures with the patient to alleviate feelings of anxiety. They also help them with all papers and needed documents to help make the overall experience as comfortable as possible.