By Karl McDonald
The news of a pregnancy in a household reverberates into joyous news, events and in some cultures festivities among family and friends. There always was a natural curiosity about the sex of the proverbial bun cooking in the oven.
Thanks to giant leaps and advances in medical research it is now possible to determine the sex through risk-free un-invasive tests on blood or urine. There is now no need to use old wives tale methods like baking soda, cabbage tests or ring tests. You do not have to wait 20 weeks for an ultrasound either. You can carry out these accurate tests in the privacy of your home and you can know if it will be boy or girl within nine weeks of pregnancy.
Other than satisfying curiosity such tests also help diagnose and treat gender related illnesses like Duchenne muscular dystrophy. They might also obviate the need for carrying out more invasive procedures on the fetus that can be risky for both mother and child (namely amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling)
While the results of the gender test can put your mind to ease, we still need to find out which test is regarded as most accurate because some of them have revealed false positives in the past leading to lawsuits from the affected mothers.
The blood test to determine a fetus’ gender is now a well established practice in many clinics and hospitals. The test is possible due to the fact that fetal DNA is naturally released to the mother’s bloodstream within weeks of pregnancy and the fetal DNA can later be extracted for analysis. It does not carry any risk of miscarriage as with the amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling – two invasive fetal DNA sampling methods that would be highly discouraged for simply determining the gender of the baby.
Gender determination tests are not federally approved yet but may well be if they show at least 99.99% accuracy. Currently blood or urine is used for reliably testing fetal DNA. If the mother’s blood or urine sample shows presence of Y chromosome then the child will be male. It is the absence of Y chromosome then the baby is female. In some cases, absence of fetal DNA in the sample may mean no result will be issued. This can happen if the test is taken too early in pregnancy.
It may also be pertinent to note that gender test is rendered illegal in certain countries like China and India. The reason for this is that these countries still practice gender selection. Societal demands pressurize parents to give birth to a male child there. It is widely suspected that this mindset is existent even in Asian Immigrants settled in North America.
Karl M McDonald is a free lance writer specializing in writing articles about DNA testing and genetics. Karl regularly publishes articles on the article repository about DNA testing by easyDNA New Zealand. Click here to read more interesting articles about the topic by Karl M McDonald.
Baby Gender Tests: Male or Female?