The Millers were a happy family, having welcomed their first child – a son – through IVF (in vitro fertilization) a couple of years earlier. Jessica Miller found out that she wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally due to her damaged fallopian tubes as a result of infection early in life. So she took the help of assisted reproductive technologies to achieve pregnancy. The process was challenging, but the end result was extremely satisfying. After having their son, the Millers now desired to welcome a daughter into their family. They decided to work with a fertility specialist and undergo gender selection IVF for family balancing.
Why Couples are Opting for Family Balancing
Hundreds of couples just like the Millers are now discussing the idea of family balancing to give them the chance to have a male and female child. And this is made possible when couples use IVF to achieve that pregnancy.
Apart from family balancing, there are other considerations for couples wanting to choose the gender of their child. If the parents are at risk of passing down a genetically-transmitted, sex-linked disease, they may choose a gender that isn’t susceptible. For instance, if the male partner is a genetic carrier and fears that he may transmit a Y-linked disorder to his son, he may wish to have a daughter to avoid that risk.
At Dreams Fertility, we have been helping many couples plan their ideal family using gender selection testing, either elective or for medical reasons. Using a procedure called preimplantation genetic screening that has a success rate of almost 100%, our expert physicians can help you achieve your family balancing goals. We understand that gender selection IVF can be a new consideration in fertility treatment, and our empathetic staff will customize the entire process for you while empowering you with knowledge all through your IVF journey.
How Gender Selection Works: Understanding PGT
Gender selection involves two advanced techniques – IVF and PGT. Gender selection IVF is similar to traditional IVF – the woman is given medications to help her grow a number of eggs, those eggs are retrieved surgically with an ultrasound-guided needle by a fertility specialist, and then ICSI is used in the lab to inject a single sperm into each egg to produce embryos. The selection of the appropriate embryos now starts.
Testing of the resulting embryos is done through preimplantation genetic testing (PGT, also known as preimplantation genetic screening, PGS). Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is a very powerful technique because not only does it help in sex selection, but it also helps fertility doctors determine if the embryo has any chromosomal abnormalities that can pose a problem with embryo implantation or become health risks for the child in the future.
In this procedure, the embryos are allowed to complete 5-6 days of growth before being biopsied for PGT. On Day 5 or 6, a few cells from the embryo are carefully removed for testing.
This biopsy process is done very skillfully, and the embryo is not damaged. Only 1-2 cells are usually removed as they are enough to perform PGD/PGS. These cells, called trophectoderm cells, are removed from the Day 5 blastocyst using a combination of laser pulses and mechanical aspiration. This advanced process has been perfected by our technical staff and is absolutely safe for the embryo. While the sample is being analyzed, the embryos are frozen and stored.
Once the cells are removed, they undergo chromosomal testing. Here, the chromosomes are separated from an embryo cell and checked for both abnormalities as well as gender.
Earlier, sperm sorting was performed to choose sperms with the Y chromosome. However, this was an unreliable method with a lesser success rate and most fertility clinics in the U.S. have stopped using this procedure in favor of the more advanced and accurate PGD/PGS.
How is the Sex of the Baby Determined?
Each cell in the human body has 22 pairs of chromosomes plus a pair of sex chromosomes. The gender of the baby is determined by the sex chromosome. The female sex chromosome is XX, while the male sex chromosome is XY. During fertilization, one-half of the genetic material is contributed by each parent – the egg contributes an X chromosome, whereas the sperm contributes either an X chromosome or a Y chromosome. If a sperm with the X chromosome fuses with the egg, the resultant embryo will have two X chromosomes, resulting in a girl child. If a sperm with a Y chromosome fuses with the egg, the resultant embryo will have X and Y chromosomes, resulting in a boy.
During testing, the fertility physicians screen the embryos for chromosomal abnormalities and also look for the desired sex.
Once the embryo of the desired sex is found and tested, it is removed from storage, thawed, and implanted into the uterus of the woman who has been on medication to support the pregnancy. The remaining embryos may be stored for future use.
At Dreams, we believe that the choice to have the family you desire should be yours alone. When couples (or individual intended parents) approach us for help with assisted reproductive technologies due to medical or non-medical reasons, we take utmost care to discuss all the aspects of the procedure and address all of their concerns before embarking on their fertility journey.
Let Dreams Help Plan Your Ideal Family
Dreams Fertility has been a proud advocate of all individuals, regardless of their sexual preferences, and has helped many different individuals bring joy into their lives through the birth of their children. Where biology has limitations, we help through assisted reproductive technologies to start or expand your family.
With our family balancing services, we help you plan your ideal family. In this journey, you will have the confidence of having our empathetic team of fertility specialists and support staff in your corner, supporting and guiding you at every step of the way.
We make our patients’ proactive participants by empowering them with knowledge and information at every step of the way so that they can make the choices that they feel are best for them.
To know more about our state-of-the-art services and treatment options that have made us a popular choice for your fertility center in Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley, schedule a consult with a Dreams Fertility physician today.
Dr. Luis Murrain joined Dreams Fertility in 2021, providing specialty services in Fertility and Reproductive Genetics. With a shared vision that everyone deserves to have the family of their dreams, we are dedicated to helping all of our patients. We believe that families come in all shapes and sizes, and all of them are beautiful. We are proud to have a long history of providing services to all, including gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals and couples on their road to parenthood.