Undergoing an in vitro fertilisation process to become pregnant has been the talk of the town for quite some time now. Fertilising an egg outside of a woman’s body is still a method other people cannot understand and accept. And with the help of modern technology, another part of the scientific reproduction surfaces: IVF gender selection. Is this possible? How is it performed? How successful would it be?
What is in vitro fertilisation?
Simply put, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is the process of artificial fertilisation outside of a woman’s body. Fertility experts and IVF specialists perform this procedure in a specialised laboratory where the atmosphere is highly controlled, making it conducive to successful fertilisation and embryo development.
How is IVF gender selection performed?
During the IVF process, IVF experts and specialists subject the embryos formed to a screening called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), where they determine which are the healthy embryos, so they are the ones who will be implanted into the woman’s womb. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a specialised analysis of the chromosomes of an embryo that determines its holistic development, including its gender.
Because PGD obtains a complete chromosomal analysis of the embryos, it is now used for IVF gender selection as well. If there are healthy embryos of both genders, parents-in-the-making request to select a specific gender of the embryo to be implanted.
Is IVF gender selection considered a successful procedure?
In a way, yes. IVF gender selection is performed according to Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Before, PGD is only used to increase the chances of IVF success rates because healthy embryos are the only ones to be implanted. About 40% to 50% of implantation resulted in healthy pregnancies using PGD. IVF specialists and fertility experts recommend this additional procedure for women who have advanced maternal age (36 years and above), reported episodes of miscarriages, and have had a history of failed IVF attempts.
Since IVF gender selection coincides with the success rate of PGD, it is therefore considered successful as well.
What are the controversies surrounding IVF gender selection?
Many ethical issues are being discussed about IVF gender selection. Religious groups are crying foul in the extensive manipulation of human life. Other gender equality groups also condemn this practice, saying that there may be bias in choosing an embryo of a specific gender. Some fertility experts even disagree with using PGD as a procedure for IVF gender selection. PGD, for them, should only be used in situations where a couple may be at high risk of having a baby with a genetic disorder present after birth as it is tied to a specific gene from either parent. Some further elaborate that the way things are going in the development of PGD, there will be a time when aspiring parents will not only think of IVF gender selection as a norm but will also demand a specific eye or hair colour for their baby.