Sex Selection and Family Balancing; An Overview of Procedure Options

Family balancing, a politically correct term for the process of sex selection, has been prevalent in American society as far back as the 1970s. With adult couples seeking sex selection of their children for a variety of reasons, some with a medical basis, the process of family balancing is, today, still considered taboo.

Of these sex selection processes, the procedures most often preferred by couples are the pre-implantation procedures; sperm sorting and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, also known as PGD. While these procedures are costly, they are proven to provide better than a 76% chance of determining the sex of your child.

With gender determination made by the sperm, MicroSort developed and patented the procedure involving separation of the X and Y sperm, also known as sperm sorting. Originally designed to assist parents in preventing X-linked disorders, Microsort begins the sex selection process with a medical history questionnaire of each potential parent. Once approved, the sperm specimen is collected and then the couple must return to one of two facilities, located in Virginia or California, for the implantation procedure. Within this procedure, couples are guaranteed successful sex selection from 76% to as high as 91%. Pricing for the procedure, including testing and sperm conservation, range from $3,400.00 – $6,500.00.

In contrast to sperm sorting, a secondary preimplantation procedure is called PGD, preimplantation genetic diagnosis. In this procedure, sperm and egg donation is required of each parent and grown, in vitro, to first determine gender composition in addition to testing for genetically based disease or disorder. Once successfully fertilized and gender confirmed, the embryo is implanted into the womb of the mother. With this procedure, success rates are as high as 99.9% with procedures routinely done in most fertility clinics across the United States. PGD rates and fees vary with most clinics charging separately for the in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer process. This is done to allow for less financial burden to the couple when the fertilized embryo is not a candidate for implantation.

While many ethical and social issues exist with either of these sex selection, or family balancing, procedures, the medical community continues to push forward in allowing the services when sought by couples. What is important to note is while these programs may be effective in sex selection, they are not effective in determining other genetically based traits such as eye color or hair color.

For more information regarding in vitro fertilization, sperm sorting, sex selection, PGD and family balancing visit, www.fhi.org or www.microsort.com

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