Gender Selection is a process through which a woman undergoes fertility treatment in order to chose the gender of her baby.  It is used either for medical reasons (ie. the prevention of genetic disease), or elective reasons (ie. family balancing, where a couple would prefer one gender over another).

In order to have a child of a specific gender, patients undergo a process that extracts multiple eggs from the mother which are then fertilized with the father’s sperm.  This technique is known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). The fertilised eggs grow into embryos which are then tested to find out the genetic makeup of each embryo.  This process is known as PGD, or Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis.  The three main advantages of PGD are:

  • PGD is the most reliable method for gender selection, and the only method with virtually 100% accuracy.  Only an embryo or embryos of the desired gender is/are transferred into the mother’s uterus
  • PGD screens the embryos for all 24 chromosomes to ensure the embryos are chromosomally normal. PGD screens for a multitude of genetic diseases such as:
    • Beta Thalassemia
    • Breast Cancer
    • Cystic Fibrosis
    • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
    • Fragile X Syndrome
    • Hemophilia
    • Huntington’s Disease
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Tay-Sachs Disease
    • Von Willebrand Disease
    • Downs Syndrome
    • Turners Syndrome
    • Edwards syndrome
    • Patau Syndrome
    • Klinefelter Syndrome
    • Many Other conditions
  • PGD reduces the rate of miscarriage

It is important to note that because PGD can only be done in conjunction with IVF, couples who are struggling to conceive and have chosen the IVF route can also add PGD to choose the gender of their baby in addition to testing for other chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders.  In other words, it’s very simple to add PGD to any IVF treatment and is a viable option for couples who are already going down the IVF route regardless.  Indeed many Australian couples are choosing to have their IVF transfer in the US for this very reason… if they want to (or have to) conceive via IVF, why not travel to Los Angeles to a state of the art facility with renowned doctor, Daniel Potter, whose pregnancy rates are globally superior?

Possibly Phyllis Martin, a licensed counsellor based in Fairfax, Virginia sums it up best when referring to a “typical” couple choosing the gender selection alternative, “Either the clock has run out or they have secondary infertility. They’re possibly in their forties. They’re probably only going to have two children. And … they think, ‘We’d like to have one of each.’” Martin, also a board member of RESOLVE, a non-profit patient advocacy group for infertility patients, says that many of the people she counsels about sex selection are infertility patients. “They know the technology is available and they want to have that choice. They have a vision of their ideal family and they want to bring it to reality.”