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Karl McDonald

Karl McDonald

Karl M McDonald is a free lance writer specializing in writing articles about DNA testing and genetics.

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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?

6 Comments to "Baby Gender Tests: Male or Female?"

  • Alice Ferman

    I am now in my second pregnancy. With the first my hubby and I were happy to wait till birth to find out but we have decided that this time round we will do a gender test (or alternatively wait till my ultrasound). It is simply because I do not see the difference between waiting 9 months or finding out before. Whether a boy or a girl I am carrying, she or he is now part of our family.

    The urine baby gender DNA test seems the easiest one to do. I have been reading lots online (as I want to make sure that its money well spend, especially given they are not exactly cheap). Of and definitely an amnio would be out of the question. thanks for the article.

    @07/13/2013 - Reply
    • Bruce

      Alice are the tests done at any hospital or do you have to seek a specialist ?

      @07/15/2013 - Reply
  • Karl McDonald Karl McDonald

    Well let us not immediately begin thinking that any parents who discover their baby may have a birth defect will opt for an abortion. Sometimes parents simply want to asses the genetic health of their child because, if something is not normal, they want to be able to get the right prenatal and post natal care and have doctors warned so that any complications will not be unforeseen (for example , hemophilia which is hereditry and affects males by far more than females). If they have a history of a hereditary conditions in the family that is specific to males or to females, a gender test may help then have their mind at rest if they know they are expecting a baby of which gender cannot be effected by that genetic illness. The question of termination of pregnancy is indeed thorny. I am sure there are many who want to know the sex of the baby simply for what they might call family planning, kind of “we already have two girls so we want to make sure the next baby is a boy”. This is an aspect of gender testing that cannot be regulated unfortunately

    @04/08/2013 - Reply
  • Pam Bell

    NY Times article: ‘A simple blood test that can determine a baby’s sex as early as seven weeks into pregnancy is highly accurate if used correctly, a finding that experts say is likely to lead to more widespread use by parents concerned about gender-linked diseases, those who are merely curious and people considering the more ethically controversial step of selecting the sex of their children’ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/health/10birth.html?_r=0

    Karl what is your opinion on this?

    @04/05/2013 - Reply
  • Karl M McDonald

    Hi Amy, glad you enjoyed the post. Yes gender selection is practised in some countries. The desire for male offspring is huge – for many reasons, including lineage, inheritance and work. Females are often seen as a burden. This said, in China, for example, the practice of sex-selection is illegal in China. The practice also creates problems in demographics where there is very obvious unbalance between males and females…..

    @04/03/2013 - Reply
  • Amy Whiteman

    Thanks! very informative. Didn’t know gender tests were rendered illegal in China and India.

    @04/02/2013 - Reply

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