You may be wondering “what decides my baby’s gender?” The answer is a question of chromosomes, and may surprise you!
The Science Behind Gender
The sex chromosomes are the indicators of gender. Typically, girls have two X chromosomes (XX) and boys have one X and one Y chromosome (XY). Sex chromosome arrangements that differ from the norm can occur, and tend to cause various physical abnormalities and/or learning difficulties, such as Klinefelter syndrome (XXY) in males or Turner syndrome (X) in females.
When a genetic man (XY) and woman (XX) conceive a child together, they each supply one chromosome in the fertilization process. As the woman can supply only X chromosomes, it is the chromosome provided by the man that determines the resulting genetic gender of the child. Surprised?
Medical Gender Selection
You may have heard about gender selection, or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). PGD is genetic testing conducted on a fertilised egg before implanting the egg via in vitro fertilization (IVF) into the mother. Usually, this procedure is done, among other reasons, to screen for gender-specific genetic disorders and single gene disorders, or in women who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss.
However, parents may choose to follow this route in order to pre-select their baby’s gender before implanting the embryo. For this reason, there is much ethical controversy surrounding PGD. Currently, PGD is legal for non-medical reasons only in some US states. In the UK, Australia and Canada, PGD can be conducted under very strict criteria for the screening of severe medical disorders/diseases.
When Can I Find Out My Baby’s Gender?
At the Nuchal Scan with Early Gender Scan with Dr Penman, you can find out the gender of your baby from 11 weeks with 75% accuracy. From 14 weeks, it’s possible to have an Early Growth with Gender Scan. The accuracy of the gender assessment increases as pregnancy progresses.
- 11 weeks – 75% accuracy
- 12 weeks – 80-90%
- 13 weeks – 95% (this is also the best time for your Nuchal Scan, which you can have at the same appointment as your gender scan)
- 14 weeks – 97%
- 16 weeks – 99.9%
All baby scans are held at the Spire Alexandra Hospital in Walderslade, Kent.