Ways A Sonographer Determines Gender
During an ultrasound, often we are curious to discover whether our baby will be a girl or boy. But how is the sonographer able to tell? Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Maureen McGee Karchner, MBA, RDMS explains. Your question
How can you tell if it's a boy?
The expert answers
To determine that the baby is a boy, the sonographer should clearly see the scrotum and the penis between the baby's legs. Some boys can be seen earlier than others, but in general by 20 weeks the scrotum and penis should be clearly visualized if the baby cooperates.
The umbilical cord should not be mistaken for a penis. On most modern equipment, the sonographer should be able to clearly distinguish the penis from the umbilical cord. If the ultrasound machine has Color Doppler, the sonographer can use this feature to identify the umbilical cord. Color Doppler shows blood flow, so the umbilical cord (composed of two arteries and a vein) would clearly be identified as the cord and not the penis.
Sometimes conditions are not favorable to determine the sex. Things that can make it difficult are obesity, decreased amniotic fluid, fetal position and fetal activity. Sometimes in these cases, the sonographer just can't get a clear view between the legs, which decreases the chances of determining the gender. It's always better for the sonographer to tell you that he/she just can't tell, than to guess and be wrong.