Elective gender selection, or family balancing, is a term used when a desired gender child is desired for non-medical reasons. The United States is one of few countries that allow elective gender selection, and because of this there is a high demand for services from citizens of other countries.
Those that felt strongly about having one gender child often feel disappointment when they find out they are carrying a child of the opposite sex. This is why elective gender selection is done with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) during an in vitro fertilization cycle to select embryos of the desired gender. In a 2009 a study published by Reproductive Biomedicine Online found Causasian-Americans selected females 70 percent of the time, while those of Indian or Chinese decent more often selected males.
PGD is a high tech procedure which involves the removal of a cell or group of cells from a day 3 or day 5 embryo while it is still in the laboratory. Removal of cells is called a biopsy. Embryos biopsied at day 5 are more likely to turn into a viable pregnancy as the cells forming the placenta are removed instead of cells that will potentially form into the baby.
Additional high tech methods may include sperm sorting and the Ericsson Method. Sperm sorting separates the X and Y sperm by measuring the amount of DNA it contains. An example of this would be the company called Micro Sort. Ericsson Method is based on the premise that male sperm are lighter and faster. The sperm sample is placed into a tube with albumin then into a centrifuge. The dense albumin is the barrier for the heavier X sperm which end up at the bottom of test tube, with the Y sperm found at the top of the tube.
Low tech methods do not guarantee the desired gender, but instead may sway the probability of conceiving a male or female. These include the Shettles Method, the Whelan Method, diet changes and vitamin or mineral supplements. Some all-encompassing gender selection kits are available which may include thermometers, herbs or vitamins, douches or diet plans.
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