Choosing Gender with DoctorKim Kardashian and Kanye West are pregnant again with a baby boy. While the couple didn’t choose the gender of their second child, conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), their announcement sparked a lot of interest in both gender selection and IVF.

Their recent announcement shed some light on a technology that has been in existence for over 20 years. The focus on gender selection began based on rumors the couple chose the gender of their child during their IVF cycle to create a “perfect” family. But the couple denies these rumors.

Gender selection is made possible through a study of human embryos at their eight-cell stage in the lab. The same process that identifies genetic abnormalities and diseases can also identify the gender of the embryo itself. The process is part of the preimplantation diagnosis (PGD) of embryos before the transfer to the mother’s uterus during an IVF cycle. The process allows for a couple to specify they only want one gender of embryo transferred to facilitate control over the sex of their child.

For the process, only one cell is taken from each embryo for study. Instead of knowing nothing about the embryos transferred, we now can know virtually anything we want to know about the embryo. The results tell us not only how many chromosomes there are, but also information on hundreds of other genetic diseases. They also tell us whether the embryo is XX (girls) or XY (boys).

We are lucky here in California because there are no restrictions on gender selection. That isn’t necessarily the case around the world. Many countries deny parents this choice. For some, the idea that a couple can choose the gender of their child is considered not morally right and that it sends a message that one gender is better than the other.

In my experience, this viewpoint is ridiculous. There are a multitude of reasons why a couple might choose to have one gender over another — and it isn’t because they think the other gender is inferior or that the gender they chose is better. Many times couples choose based on that gender’s lower risk for developing a type of hereditary disease, as for some it is less with one gender over another. Sometimes the decision has to do with balance for their family. As couples delay childbearing and the family size shrinks, we see more parents who want to control what gender they implant during their IVF cycles than in the past.

Kim and Kanye reportedly didn’t choose the gender of their child, but they could have. So could countless other parents that, for their own reasons, want a specific gender for their child. Through gender selection, we have more information that allows parents to make better decisions for their family building. With the help of IVF and PGD/PGS, we can provide the information needed to connect parents with their destiny. Whether that destiny is pink or blue, we all know that a perfect family comes in many different colors and is based in love.

Sources:

Caparras, Christine. “Kim Kardashian And Kanye West Pregnancy Causes Booming Interest in IVF and Gender Selection Process.” www.ibtimes.com. 29 June 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/30/baby-gender-selection_n_7696760.html