The only situation in which you should be advised to use sex selection is in the case of medical need, such as being at risk of passing on a known genetic disease that affects children of one sex only. In this case, it is acceptable to select the sex of an embryo so it will be unaffected by the disease. Most of the risks involved in sex selection treatment are similar to those for conventional in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
With sex selection, there is also the possibility that:
some embryos may be damaged by the process of testing
no embryos are suitable for transfer to the womb after sex selection (i.e. all embryos are of the sex being selected against)
flow cytometry is not 100% reliable, which is why it is not normally offered.
Often with ADME Studies
, the reason a family wants to select the sex of their child is for a medical reason. This could be because the family is genetically predisposed to passing on a sex-linked genetic disease, many of which are inherited by the mother but only affect her male children.
Examples of sex-linked genetic diseases include muscular dystrophy, fragile-X syndrome and hemophilia. Nearly all people with sex-linked disorders are male, and the disorder is passed on through the mother because a son’s X chromosomes always come from the mother. All daughters of an affected male will be carriers.
Families who want to screen embryos for the single gene mutations that cause genetic disease can do so by undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and having the resultant embryos tested with single-gene preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which looks for a single specific mutation. However, if the genetic disorder is sex-linked, a couple may also simply choose to screen for the sex chromosome with preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). PGS does not look for a specific disease and instead screens chromosomes for abnormalities and sex. With PGS, the fertility doctor can select only female embryos to transfer to the woman’s uterus.
Another medical reason for selecting the gender of a baby may, in fact, be psychological. For example, a family may have lost a child and wants to have another child of the same gender.