Medically reviewed by Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS - Written by CHR Staff - Updated on Oct 08, 2018
We urge you to be careful with most of the "expert" advice you might find on the Internet in regards to gender selection methods. The truth is that most of the methods simply do not work; others may work, but reliability is very low. There are only two techniques that reliably affect gender: One is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis or PGD with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and the other is an experimental sperm-sorting technique called Microsort™. Microsort™ was not approved for clinical use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after its clinical trial and is no longer clinically available in the United States, leaving IVF+PGD the only reliable method of gender selection available.
Which Method Works Best
Dr. Gleicher explains why the IVF+PGD used at CHR is the most accurate gender selection method.
Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis with IVF
"The combined technique of IVF+PGD used by CHR is by far the most accurate - close to 100%."
In gender selection using IVF and PGD, embryos are created from the couple's eggs and sperm. This process happens outside the body so that the embryologists can control embryos of which gender will eventually be used to establish a pregnancy.
On the third day after the sperm fertilize the eggs, when embryos have developed into 6 to 8 cells, one of the cells is removed from the embryo, and its chromosomal makeup is analyzed. The removal of the cell at this stage does not have a significant negative effect on the embryo's growth competency. This chromosomal analysis allows us to determine whether the embryo is male or female. Then, only the embryos of the desired gender are transferred to the uterus to establish a pregnancy.
PGD gender selection is the most reliable method for gender selection, approaching 100% accuracy (although, of course, there are always possibilities for technical errors).
Microsort™ Gender Selection
The other method for reliable gender selection is/was Microsort™, developed by the Genetics and IVF Institute in Fairfax, Virginia. Unfortunately, this method is no longer available for clinical use.
In its initial clinical trial, Microsort™ was shown to improve chances of gender selection for female to approximately 90%, while the approximate chance for a male child hovered at around a slightly lower 85%. In this method, sperm is sorted to X-bearing sperm and Y-bearing sperm, and only the sperm that bear the chromosome for the desired gender (X for a female child, Y for a male) is mixed with the eggs to fertilize.
However, after a long FDA review period following the initial clinical trial, Microsort™ failed to obtain FDA approval for clinical use. Therefore, Microsort™ is currently not available in the United States as of March 2012, leaving IVF + PGD as the only reliable gender selection method now available to patients.
Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS
Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.