Learning the Sex of Your Baby at 7 Weeks

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • It's the age old question: Do you want to know the sex of your baby before he or she is born? Some parents still hold out, asking not to be told and preferring to be surprised at the time of birth. For most, however, the sex of their baby is revealed during an ultrasound somewhere around half way through the pregnancy or through a more invasive procedure, amniocentesis, which draws some of the fluid from around the baby or a small portion of the placenta.

    Now, it seems, you don't have to wait very long and don't need to go through amniocentesis. A simple blood test can tell you the sex of your baby, sometimes as early as 7 weeks. A report in the August 2011 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association discusses an analysis of 57 different studies and shows an extremely high rate of accuracy in a blood test which looks for traces of the male "Y" chromosome. According to the report, the blood test was accurate 98.8 percent of the time for a boy and 94.8 percent of the time for a girl.

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    The test is more commonly used in Europe and is available in the United States but it was not considered to be highly accurate and therefore not used as often here. There are some definite advantages to the test, such as many women are avoiding more invasive procedures to find out in advance about potential health risks, such as hemophilia (which is more prevalent in boys).

    There are also some ethical concerns with the test, with some fearing that knowing the sex of a baby that early in pregnancy could lead to gender selection. In other words, if you want to have a certain sex baby, would you be more apt to have an abortion and try again since it is so early in the pregnancy?

    The test is currently available and can be purchased online, in drugstores or through your doctor. It does cost several hundred dollars for the test, shipping and lab fees.

    What do you think? Would you pay to know the sex of your baby early in your pregnancy? Would you use it only if there was a valid medical reason? Do you believe it could lead to "gender selection?" Share your thoughts.

    References:

    Controversial Test Reveals Fetus' Sex as Early as 7 Weeks, 2011, Aug 9, Frederick Joelving, Reuters, MSNBC

    Noninvasive Fetal Sex Determination Using Cell-Free Fetal DNA, 2011, August, Stephanie A. Devaney et all, The Journal of the American Medical Association

Published On: August 19, 2011