Blood Test to Determine Gender

Parents are always curious about the gender of their unborn child. An ultrasound can indicate the gender at 11 weeks but such results are unreliable. The results are accurate at 18-22 weeks. The curiosity to determine the baby's gender is fueled by excitement and worry. Although parents have preferences on the gender, they also worry about genetic disorders that affect one gender. They may conduct a blood test to determine gender at an early stage. Here are 4 tests that can be used in determining the gender of a baby.

Blood Test to Determine Gender

Parents can conduct blood tests to determine their child's gender. Most of them have minimal risks and hence can be undertaken at early pregnancy stages. These tests include:

1. Free Cell DNA Test

This test uses fragments of fetus' DNA to determine the health status and gender of the child and can be performed as early as week 7 of pregnancy. Fetal DNA testing is non-invasive and can be performed throughout pregnancy. It has no risks to pregnancy and is 95.4% accurate for boys and 98.6% for girls.

These DNA fragments swim through the placental wall into the mother's blood stream and are visible at 5 weeks. Some of the countries that have embraced free cell DNA testing include Netherlands, Spain and France. In addition to gender, this test can determine duchenne muscular dystrophy, paternity, hemophilia, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and Rh blood group type. Free cell DNA testing may be used in the future to diagnose other disorders including cystis fibrosis, Down's syndrome, and Beta-Thalassemia.

2. Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

Expecting parents can use NIPT as a blood test to determine gender of their baby. However, this non-invasive test is used to test chromosomal conditions such as Down's syndrome. It is usually done at 10 weeks of pregnancy.

NIPT is 92%-99% accurate in detecting chromosomal conditions. It is recommended for women at high risks of giving birth to children with genetic conditions. It is still unclear if average-risk women and those expecting twins can undertake this test.

During this test, doctors do not need to insert a needle in the mother's uterus. During NIPT, doctors count fragments of the baby's cell-free fetal DNA in the mother's bloodstream. If they find 21 chromosome fragments, they conclude that the baby has trisomy 21 or Down's syndrome.

Such results imply that there are 3 chromosome copies instead of the normal 2 copies. NIPT is also used to detect trisomy 13 and 18. Using amniocentesis and CVS (chorionic villus sampling), doctor can examine the baby's chromosomes instead of relying on mother's chromosomes.

Other Types of Tests to Determine the Baby Gender

Expecting parents can use other alternative tests to determine their baby's gender. Each of these alternatives is discussed below in details.

1. Ultrasound

An ultrasound procedure involves placing a device on a mother's stomach to send sound waves to her uterus. The waves at a high frequency project the picture of the fetus on a monitor. The health professional determines the gender of the child by observing the fetus' sex organ. Most ultrasound procedures are done at 18 weeks because sex organs before this age look similar. If the ultrasound at 18 does not reveal the gender clearly, parents can conduct another ultrasound at a later stage to determine the gender accurately.

Ultrasound is a good alternative test for blood test to determine gender because it is safe and accurate in determining baby sex. What's more, it can also detect defects such as heart defects, cleft palate, and club foot that other tests fail to detect.

2. Amniocentesis

Another alternative to a blood test to determine gender is amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is the most accurate way (99.4%) of determining your baby's gender and can be conducted at 15-18 weeks of pregnancy.

During amniocentesis, the doctor will first do an ultrasound, and then a fine needle is inserted through the stomach into the uterus to remove less than an ounce of amniotic fluid which will be used in various tests.

It poses minimal risks to the mother and her baby and is recommended for mothers whose ultrasound is abnormal. Amniocentesis is used to detect conditions such as cystic fibrosis, Down's syndrome, Tay-Sachs, sickle cell and muscular dystrophy. The test can also detect some neural tube conditions such as anencephaly and spina bifida.

This poses a less than 1% risk of miscarriage. Some of the side effects of amniocentesis include abdominal pain, fever, vaginal discharge and bleeding. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these side effects.

3. CVS

CVS or chorionic villus sampling can also be used to determine the gender of an unborn baby. Besides this, it can be used to identify chromosomal problems with an accuracy of about 98%, such as Down's syndrome, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, etc.

This test carries a slightly greater risk of miscarriage than amniocentesis. Usually, week 10 is the earliest time that this procedure can be done. Rare but there are cases that defects in babies' fingers or toes are resulted, especially if the test is performed before week 9.

Watch the video to know how CVS is perform, its function and so on: 

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