Can You Choose Baby's Sex Before You Conceive?

Many parents choose to find out the sex of their babies during pregnancy. Some go a step further and try gender selection during -- or even before -- conception. Read more about gender selection options and whether or not gender selection is for you.

Baby in blanket

The Egg Cycle Method

According to Natural Gender Specialist Michal Naim, the Egg Cycle Method -- ECM -- is a natural method that can be implemented to pre-determine the gender of a child. "It does not rely on diet or positions during intercourse," she explains. "Rather, ECM focuses on the woman's body cycle and the time period in a woman's cycle that her egg receives and fertilizes an X or Y sperm."

Naim continues, "ECM relies on the fact that the woman determines the gender of the baby and not the man. The membrane surrounding a human egg emits ions, giving off an electrical charge. This charge attracts either the X or Y sperm during a woman's menstrual cycle. This attraction changes from cycle to cycle. It is important for a woman looking to have a specific gender to conceive during the cycle in which her ovum will attract the appropriate chromosome."

Skeptical?

Naim lists some scientific studies on her website, which invites women to consult with her about ECM. However, not everyone is a good candidate for this method of gender selection. "Not all women qualify for ECM based on the data provided, including menstrual cycle irregularity -- 1 out of 4 women does not qualify for ECM," she says. And if you do qualify? Naim doesn't guarantee ECM will work, but she offers a money-back guarantee if clients don't give birth to the boy or girl they hoped for.

Learn why Americans prefer to leave a child's sex to chance >> 

Gender selection with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a procedure that tests embryos for genetic diseases, can also determine gender. "After an embryo has divided into 8-16 cells, one is removed, and a diagnostic technique called flourescent in-situ hybridization -- FISH -- is used to diagnose gender as well as specific abnormalities such as Down syndrome," explains Adam Wolfberg, M.D., from the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Tufts University. The embryo is then implanted through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Learn more about how PGD can prevent genetic disease before pregnancy >>

"The technique is reliable to identify gender, but it is rarely used for this purpose," says Wolfberg. "The exception is when only offspring of one gender could be affected by a genetic disease. So while it is reliable for identifying gender, it isn't used for this purpose except in rare circumstances. PGD is an expensive and complex diagnostic process appropriate when used to diagnose rare conditions -- not for gender selection."

While there are personal and ethical questions involved with gender selection, some doctors are perfectly willing to help parents who want to know in advance.

"We see nothing wrong with offering parents the opportunity to choose the gender of their children," says Maher Abdallah, M.D., of American Reproductive Centers. "It is a very personal choice, and one that we are perfectly willing to honor if a family desires it."

Tags: gender odds gender of baby


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