It might be a controversial belief, but couples undergoing fertility treatments may soon be able to select the sex of their baby. This article takes a look at this technique and how it works.
What is the Sperm-sorting Technique?
Sperm sorting techniques have been tried and offered before to fertility treatment couples. However, a new study claims the new procedure, which separates sperm cells based on weight, is more accurate and safe.
How Was the Study Conducted?
In the study, over 1,300 couples underwent a sperm-sorting technique using a specific multilayer density gradient or medium. This allows particles of different sizes to be weighed based on weight. According to study author Dr. Gianpiero Palermo, sperm that contains an X chromosome (female) are heavier than sperm containing a Y chromosome (male). He also said the sperm was left to swim into the dense medium. The concept is the lighter sperm rise to the surface while the heavier sperm go toward the bottom.
Next, the researchers choose a sperm and inject it into the center of the egg. This procedure is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI). The embryo undergoes preimplantation genetic testing to scan for chromosomal abnormalities or sex.
Concerning the study group, Dr. Palermo said the sperm moved well. He also said the sorting technique did not impair sperm in any shape or form. Dr. Palermo said the children’s health is fine so far, and there were no developmental delays at three years of age. He also said that any couple treated at his practice is offered this service as part of a research protocol.
What Does this Study Mean for Fertility Treatment in the Future?
According to Palermo, this procedure could also help couples who do not need fertility treatments. He also said couples undergoing fertility treatments know the sex of an embryo before it is implanted.
There are various legitimate and non-controversial reasons a family might choose sex selection. This includes family balance or avoidance of an inherited disease associated with a specific gender. For instance, hemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder that primarily affects males.
Most couples in the study have no preference concerning the sex of their child. However, among the 105 couples, 59 wanted a girl, while 46 wanted a boy. Of the couples who wanted female offspring, 79% of the tested embryos were female. Among the couples desiring a male, nearly 80% of their embryos were male.
By choosing the gender of your baby beforehand, you can increase effective fertility treatment. Contact your doctor today for a better understanding of how the procedure works.