What is Family Balancing?
Family balancing (also called gender selection) is a medical technique used by prospective parents who wish to choose the sex of their baby. Gender selection is performed through sperm separation or genetic testing. The embryos with the desired sex are then implanted into the woman’s uterus.
How does gender selection work?
Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) genetically tests the embryo for the presence of two X chromosomes (female) or one X and one Y chromosome (male). With PGS, the embryos are analyzed with almost 100% accuracy.
Why use gender selection?
Sometimes couples use gender selection to help prevent serious genetic diseases and chromosomal disorders that are gender-specific. For example, sex-linked diseases like muscular dystrophy and hemophilia that are inherited via the mother will only affect male offspring. In addition, conditions like Fragile X or autism often present more severely in one gender than in the other.
Other times, prospective parents turn to sex selection when they have a strong desire to complete or “balance” their family according to their own personal plans. There are also cases where a couple feels a psychological need to have a child of a certain gender, either because they feel better equipped to raise a child of that gender or because they lost a child previously.
Ovarian Stimulation – a woman usually produces one egg from her ovaries during normal ovulation. In order to increase the chances of fertilization during IUI, our specialist may give her fertility medicine at the start of her menstrual cycle to encourage multiple eggs release.
Egg Retrieval – Eggs are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to guide a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity to remove the eggs. Medication is provided to reduce and remove potential discomfort.
Sperm Collection & ICSI – On the day of Egg Retrieval, a semen sample is taken to fertilize the retrieved eggs. To increase chances of fertilization, a single sperm is injected into each egg using a precision needle in a method called ICSI.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) – will be completed for family balancing or to screen for any chromosomal abnormalities. 3 to 5 days after the Egg Retrieval, a biopsy is taken from each embryo and tested in the Genetics Lab. The health and gender of the embryos is identified and discussed with you before Embryo Transfer.
Embryo Transfer – Embryo Transfer is a minor procedure that does not require sedation. Following the procedure, hormone levels are tracked through blood test to confirm pregnancy.