Let us admit that there is enough truth in some claims of selecting the gender of babies even though gender selection is a highly debated topic across the world. Although it is legal in the US, many countries have banned it. Apparently, there seems to be no control over the sex or gender of a baby that results from random spam lottery, with the chances of a girl or boy being fairly even. However, some couples feel the need to manipulate the lottery by influencing the selection process to drive it in favor of some particular gender. Sometimes the need arises from the desire to have a balanced family and people prefer to have a baby girl or boy depending on the circumstances. It usually happens when couples have children of the same sex and would like to add variety to the family.
The chromosome factor
Chromosomes in sperms and eggs and the way it combines determine the sex of babies. While sperm may have X or Y chromosomes, all eggs carry the X chromosome. Matching X with X results in a girl child whiles the combination of X and Y produces a baby boy.
Choosing the sex of a baby
To influence the pairing of chromosomes carried by the egg and sperm, there are a few methods that scientists and doctors are aware of. Natural processes, sperm sorting and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) are some ways of trying to influence the gender selection of babies in the making.
Sperms swim, and the speed depends on how heavy the sperm is. X chromosomes are heavier than Y chromosomes and sperm that contains X chromosome will swim slower. Using the information some couples try to manipulate the sex of the offspring by changing the time of intercourse with respect to the time of ovulation. When couples want a baby boy, they would have intercourse for 5days before the day of ovulation, and the chances would reduce considerably if they do it for 2 days before ovulation. However, there is no certainty that the calculations would pay back as expected.
In the method of sperm sorting the weight differential of X and Y chromosomes comes into play again. It consists of a physical process of separating the X bearing sperm which are slow swimmers from the Y- bearing sperm. The sorting increases the chances of influencing the sex of the baby, but there is no guarantee of the outcome.
A more accurate way of sorting sperms is to use a fluorescent dye that binds with the DNA and shows X-chromosomes as bigger fluorescent patches. Despite the better separation, the process is not much dependable for those wanting a baby girl.
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis
In this process, a single cell of an IVF embryo which is still in the eighth cell stage is plucked. The analysis of the cell helps to detect any abnormality like a serious genetic disorder and avoid its implantation in the womb.
Besides detecting a number of hereditary diseases, this method helps to know the sex of the embryo.
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