IVF Gender Selection: Pros and Cons


Many couples prefer to choose the gender of their child for different reasons. Today, medical advances made it possible to choose the gender of future children with almost 100% accuracy.

By using the preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) technique, couples who use assisted reproduction techniques -such as IVF- can determine the gender of their baby before transferring the embryo to the uterus. This article introduces IVF gender selection and discusses its advantages and disadvantages.

IVF in Iran
Read more: IVF Treatment, Process, and Conditions


PGD Gender Selection

What Is PGD?

As you may know, females and males have different sex chromosomes. Females have two of the same sex chromosome (XX) while males have an XY chromosome. During fertilization, if a sperm with an X chromosome fertilizes the egg, the baby will be a girl, but if a sperm with a Y chromosome fertilizes the egg, the baby will be a boy.

Using assisted reproductive technologies, the fertility specialist can determine the gender of a child before the implantation phase by using a new technique called PGD. The IVF specialist can separate embryos with X or Y chromosomes and transfer the desired one(s) into the mother's womb.

Reasons for Using PGD

prevent transferring genetic disorders

Genetic disorders such as hemophilia, thalassemia, or Down syndrome can be transferred to the embryo. Therefore, the parents with these disorders should have their embryos examined genetically using PGD. Also, if the disorder is gender-based (e.g., Turner syndrome, which is female-specific), the gender of the embryo should be determined with the help of PGD. 

have a child of a specific gender for personal reasons

 Although the gender of the baby is not a critical issue in today's world, some parents tend to have a child of a specific gender. Also, infertile couples with only one child throughout their life can determine the gender of their embryo with the help of PGD.

have a child of a specific gender in PGD

Increase the chance of successful pregnancy

From the age of 35 onwards, the success rate of IVF decreases. Also, for women with a history of abortion and failed IVF, screening the embryos and detecting their disorders with PGD will increase the chance of having a successful pregnancy. Therefore, it is necessary to use the PGD technique to observe and screen the embryos intricately. 

How to Increase Your Chances of IVF Success
Read more: How to Increase Chances of Successful IVF?

Procedure of IVF Gender Selection

The procedure of IVF gender selection is the same as standard IVF, with one extra step:

First, the female partner should take ovulation induction drugs to boost egg production and prepare her uterus for implantation. 

Second, the mature eggs are retrieved from the uterus or ovaries during a simple procedure and are isolated in the laboratory for several hours.

what to avoid after egg retrieval?
Read more: After Egg Retrieval: Do's and Don'ts.


Procedure of IVF Gender Selection


Third, the eggs are fertilized in the laboratory using the male partner's sperm almost 4 hours after the egg retrieval process. 

Fourth, the resulting embryo(s) is developed in the embryology laboratory for 5-7 days, and then it gets frozen in tanks filled with liquid nitrogen. Then, one or more cells are retrieved from the embryo using focused laser beams or a biopsy technique. After that, the cells are tested by Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) method for gender selection. In this step, the embryo's genetic disorders can also be detected.

Finally, when the gender of the embryo is determined, the desired embryo is transferred to the mother's uterus with the help of a catheter and ultrasound. The frozen embryo transfer (FET) process is simple and mainly done under local anesthesia.

Risks and Complications of IVF Gender Selection

As mentioned before, during the IVF procedure, the female partner has to take multiple hormone medications to stimulate ovulation and prepare her body for implantation. These drugs have irritating complications such as bloating, nausea, breast tenderness, frequent headaches, weight gain, rash, mood swings, anxiety, and most importantly, they may cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). 

Moreover, to retrieve some cells for PGT, the fertility specialist should either use a unique laser device or a biopsy technique to remove some cells from the frozen embryo. During this procedure, the embryo may accidentally be damaged or demolished. 

IVF Gender Selection Pros and Cons

Selecting the gender of a child is either elective or mandatory due to medical reasons. In any case, IVF gender selection has some advantages and disadvantages that every couple should know about.

IVF Gender Selection

Advantages of IVF sex selection

  • Parents can plan their family as they wish: many couples prefer their firstborn to be of a specific gender. Also, some people long for a boy or girl so much that they continue to have babies until they get the sex that they want, which in some cases can affect the quality of their lives. 
  • Parents can choose the gender they can raise better: as you may know, raising and training a boy is much different than raising a girl because they have different attitudes and needs. So, the parents can raise and support a mentally and psychologically prepared child. 
  • Parents can prepare for the baby's coming: knowing the gender of the child before the implantation allows the would-be parents to prepare and provide the necessary stuff in time.
  • The risk of passing on genetic disorders is reduced: couples with genetic disorders (especially gender-related ones) can use PGD to minimize the risk of passing on their diseases to the baby. 
  • Parents who have lost a child can have a baby of the same gender: couples who have lost a child in the past find it comforting and helpful to have a child of the same sex.
  • It prevents further expenses: sometimes, an infertile couple wants a boy or girl so much that they repeat the IVF procedure until they get the sex they wish. Since IVF is a costly procedure, by doing PGD, the couple can have the gender they want on their first try and avoid extra expenses.


Disadvantages of IVF sex selection

  • It is expensive: PGD is costly, so couples who have apportioned a limited budget for IVF may find it impossible to use the PGD technique.
  • The morality of gender selection is in question: as it is commonly believed that God should make gender selection, some people think that the parents should not choose the gender of their child. 
  • Parents may change their minds in the future: some people think that the parents may change their minds in the long future if things do not work out the way they want, impacting the baby's life.


PGD Gender Selection Cost in Iran

PGD Gender Selection Cost in Iran

The IVF gender selection cost in Iran varies according to the age of the parents, the quality of the embryo, the number of embryos to be tested and transferred, the number of times IVF procedure should be repeated, the specialist's experience and level of knowledge, and the type (private or public) and facilities of the hospital. In most cases, the cost of PGD is almost more expensive than the cost of standard IVF, and pgd cost in Iran is about 3000$, as it includes additional steps (such as embryo biopsy) and tests (PGT).

IVF in Iran

conclusion

Overall, gender selection with IVF is one of the most accurate and advanced techniques of sex determination which has drawn the attention of many couples during the last decade. Contact us if you have questions regarding the exact cost, procedure, and the best clinics for PGD in Iran. Radinaa team assists you in applying for Iran medical visa, booking appointments with the best fertility clinics in Iran, booking accommodation near the medical centers, etc., and provides 24/7 support during and after the IVF procedure. 

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