Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

How To Tell If Your Unborn Baby Is A Boy Or Girl

24 Aug 2011A lot of my friends, family members, and people around me are pregnant at the moment... It's funny, it's like it's something that happens in waves. I remember a couple of years ago, when a whole bunch of people I knew were pregnant, then no significant amount of mothers-to-be who were close to me for a while, and now again, I could easily name a dozen of women I know.

The big question I always ask them is whether or not they are going to find out the sex of the baby. I've found that a lot of people these days choose not to find out, wanting it to be a surprise when the baby is born. Personally, I'd have to know, maybe being a control-freak has something to do with that though, I'd like to know what's happening, so I could be prepared and organised.

The most common way of finding out the baby's gender, is to wait until the 20 week mark, for a routine ultra-sound. Sometimes though, the results can't be delivered. If the baby appears to be a bit camera shy, the radiographer may not be able to give a definitive answer. Even if they do give an answer, it can't be 100% guaranteed. We've all heard of someone who's gotten so excited about finding out they're having a boy, going home and preparing for his arrival, painting his room blue, buying blue (or boy coloured) clothes ect. only to be shocked to hear the news that they've had a beautiful little girl, or vice versa.

There are now test kits available on the market, which claim to determine the baby's sex from as little as 5 weeks into the pregnancy. Some of these have been proven to be ineffective though, so most manufacturers of the kits advise not to make any life altering decisions or changes, just in case the test is wrong.

Usually when the question is posed to someone, whether or not they want a boy or a girl, the most common reply will be ‘I don't mind, as long as it's healthy', but for some, whether it's a boy or girl could mean life or death....

Sadly, in some third world countries, if women give birth to a girl, the baby can be killed or abandoned, because girls are seen as less valuable members of society than boys.

Some disabilities appear to be more common amongst only males or only females; Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy for example, directly affects males, resulting in them having a shorter life span, due to complications that arise from weakness of the muscles. Whereas females can be carriers of the disorder, their muscles aren't directly affected, but they will have the ability to pass the disorder down if they reproduce.

Two test kits available that I've come across during my research are; one that requires a urine sample, similar to a pregnancy test, but instead of a ‘line' or symbol indicating a pregnancy, part of the stick will change to either blue for a boy, or pink for a girl, but these have been proven to be incorrect.

The other that I've discovered, is a finger prick blood test, where a kit will be sent to you in the mail with everything necessary inside. Three drops of blood are required from the pregnant mother, to be wiped onto a strip of paper from the test. The paper then needs to be posted back to the manufacturer of the kit, so the blood sample can be tested in a laboratory. If the ‘Y' chromosome appears in the blood sample, it indicates that the foetus is a male, if no ‘Y' chromosome is detected, the researcher assumes that the unborn child is a female, as males are the only carriers of the ‘Y' chromosome. One company, Acu-Gen Biolab INC, gives a 99% money back guarantee that the results will be correct. The test can be carried out as early as seven weeks into the pregnancy. Apparently, the only way this method can be incorrect, is if for example, if a male and female twin is conceived, and the male twin vanishes early on in the pregnancy, leaving the ‘Y' chromosome still visible in the expectant mother's bloodstream.

This isn't marketed for people to find out the sex and abort the unwanted sex of their baby, but professionals are concerned that this is what it will be used for. In some third world countries, the kits are banned from being sent into the country to avoid healthy baby's being aborted, or a possible extinction of a gender.

This process could become useful however, for people with a history of hereditary disability or illnesses that only affect one gender, decisions can be made very early on in the pregnancy, to avoid passing on disorders, or preparations can be made to cope with the impending birth.

Here is a useful website that will give you more information on how the gender prediction DNA blood test works, (but many say that they wouldn't trust it) would you?: http

Male or female?

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