These two gender-selection methods draw from two infertility treatments: in vitro fertilization (IVF) and artificial insemination (AI).
IVF starts with a batch of fertility drugs to get your ovaries to produce a bunch eggs for fertilization, not just the single egg you would normally release every month. Fertility drugs can also be used for AI. For AI, or intrauterine insemination (IUI), your doctor uses a catheter to insert a concentrated sperm sample right into the uterus.
For IVF, fertilization takes place outside of your body. (In vitro means in glass). Your doctor will give you an anesthetic and remove eggs from your ovaries by inserting a needle through the vaginal wall. The eggs are then fertilized with sperm using a petri dish.
Three to five days later your doctor puts the fertilized eggs – now embryos – into your uterus by inserting a thin catheter through the cervical canal. The number of embryos that get inserted depend on your age, the quality of the embryos, and your reproductive history. Normally, if you are under 35 and the embryos look healthy, no more than two get transferred.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
This is an in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique where the embryos get tested for genetic disorders and gender.
When PGD was discovered back in 1989, it was originally used to help couples or individuals with serious genetic disorders decrease the risk of having a child with the same condition.
Today it is still used for this reason, and it’s also used to screen for embryos with normal chromosomes in women that are at least 35 years old or got a history of recurrent miscarriage. There’s also some clinics that provide this technique for nonmedical reasons, like sex selection or “gender balancing.” This is almost 100% effective.
During an IVF cycle, the eggs get fertilized with sperm in a petri dish. One or more cells are later removed from each of the resulting three to five-day-old embryos and are tested for gender.
In a normal IVF cycle, scientists try to find out which embryos got the best chance by looking at them under a microscope. Though in PGD, the embryos get tested thoroughly for genetic abnormalities and sex.
By transferring just the healthy embryos to the uterus, you are less likely to miscarry or have a child with a genetic disorder. Prenatal tests like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) are still being offered if you are 35 years or older to check that the embryo does not have any genetic abnormalities.