The methods of gender selection, that is to say, those that help a couple to have an offspring of a desired sex, fall into two major categories:
- the natural strategies, according to which the baby is conceived in the natural manner, or, more precisely, during a sexual intercourse between the future parents, in the comfort of their home or wherever they like, without the intervention of anyone else and without the use of any sophisticated appliances;
- the scientific methods, according to which the fetus is conceived in an unnatural manner; to be more precise, the women get pregnant with a girl or a boy without any sexual activity, because the embryos are created in special laboratories, from the reproductive material collected from the future parents, the woman and the man, and then the best embryos are implanted in the future mother’s uterus in special clinics by some doctors.
Since I talk in this little article about the gender selection methods in the second class, the scientific techniques, I think it is best to begin by pointing out the basic characteristics of these strategies and also what sets them apart from the natural ones. Let’s start with the advantages of the “laboratory” methods:
- they are more effective than the natural ones, as their success rates are higher than the ones of the natural strategies; moreover, a scientific technique, PGD with IVF, is the sole sex selection method that has an accuracy rate of 100%, only if there are no errors;
- they are supported by most scientists, unlike the natural techniques, which are questioned by the great majority of scientists and researchers;
- only the scientific methods are scientifically or clinically proven; the others are demonstrated only empirically.
Let’s move on now to the disadvantages of these scientific ways of conceiving a baby girl or boy:
- they are much more expensive than the natural ones, since they are very sophisticated, they use some of the greatest discoveries in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry and technology, and they involve not only high-tech equipment and appliances, but also the services of several highly-trained medical workers;
- they are very embarrassing, as they use a surgical transvaginal technique for retrieving eggs from the future mother and they implant the laboratory-created embryos in the woman’s womb through artificial insemination.
The most famous scientific techniques of gender selection are the following three:
- PGD with IVF, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis with In Vitro Fertilization;
- MicroSort with IVF or IUI, Intra-Uterine Insemination;
- Ericsson Method.
Below is a video of how IUI works:
In order to conceive a girl, PGD works as follows: collects eggs from the woman and sperm samples from the man; using this reproductive content and IVF, creates embryos in the lab; examines the embryos for determining their genetic defects, health level and sex; selects the healthiest embryos of the preferred gender and implants them in the womb of the future mother.
MicroSort and Ericsson methods are, in fact, sperm sorting techniques which have some phases that are similar to corresponding stages of PGD: they also collect reproductive material, but only from the future father, so, only sperm samples are needed in these two gender selection techniques; they also prepare the “reproductive material” that is needed for conceiving a girl or a boy in a specialized laboratory, but, unlike PGD, which creates embryos in the lab using IVF, MicroSort and Ericsson methods just select the enriched sperm subpopulations that are necessary for obtaining embryos of the desired gender; in the last stage of these three scientific strategies, the stuff obtained in the lab is introduced in the body of the future mother, but, unlike PGD, where embryos are implanted in the woman’s uterus for establishing a pregnancy, in the other two methods, the selected enriched sperm samples are artificially inseminated in the future mother in the hope that, within the woman’s womb, the sperm will fertilize the eggs and create the zygote, which should develop into a pregnancy.