High-Tech Ways to Choose Baby’s Gender

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There are a few genetic conditions that are more common in one sex than another, and choosing the sex of your child can help avoid heartache. In other cases, a family with a lot of children of one sex may want to ensure at least one child of the opposite sex. Or maybe a couple just wants to be sure they have one of each. Whatever the reason, gender selection is here to stay, and the two methods available today are highly effective.

X & Y and IVF

Before discussing the two best available methods of gender selection, it’s helpful to have a general understanding of the process and terms.

X & Y: In general, semen contains a 50/50 ratio of X (female) and Y (male) sperm. The X sperm is slightly larger than the Y sperm, as it has approximately 2.8 percent more total DNA. In a typical conception, sperm from the male meets with an egg released by a female. If the egg is fertilized by an X sperm, a girl will be born, a boy if it’s a Y sperm.

IVF: With in-vitro fertilization (IVF), an egg from the woman is injected with sperm obtained from the man. In a typical IVF procedure, the sperm is not tested for male or female chromosomes, so the chances of conceiving one or the other are still approximately 50/50.

IUI: With intrauterine insemination (IUI), sperm is injected directly into the uterus. In a typical IUI procedure, the sperm is not separated into X and Y.

MicroSort Sperm Sorting

The method has a success rate of 91 percent for a girl and 76 percent for a boy. MicroSort sorts sperm using a technique called “flow cytometry.” The sorting technology is based on the larger X chromosome. The idea behind MicroSort is if that a woman is inseminated with mostly X sperm she is more likely to conceive a girl, and with Y sperm a boy.

MicroSort is used with either IUI or IVF. Insemination via IUI can only be done in a MicroSort facility because it must be done using fresh semen. MicroSort has two locations, Fairfax, Virginia, and Laguna Hills, California.

IVF is done at a collaborative physician’s office and the semen sample can be obtained in one of two ways. One is to collect it at a MicroSort facility and ship it, frozen, to the physician’s office. Alternatively, it can be collected at the physician’s office, then frozen and shipped to a MicroSort facility. Once there, it’s thawed and separated, re-frozen, shipped back to the physician’s office, and then thawed for the IVF procedure.

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