A recent New York Post story on “designer babies” featured the mother of two boys who pursued IVF and family balancing to have a girl.
Dr. Joel Batzofin, medical director of our leading New York fertility center, is often consulted on fertility news stories like this one. You may see headlines about family balancing and wonder how and why couples select the gender of an embryo before an IVF transfer.
When sperm fertilizes an egg in the IVF lab, embryologists monitor the growth. After 3-5 days, the embryo is mature enough for us to remove a group of cells; at five days those cells will eventually form the placenta. Thanks to amazing developments in DNA mapping, we can biopsy and quickly examine the embryo’s chromosomes and genetic blueprint in what’s called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, PGD. We all have 23 pairs of chromosomes, one inherited from mom and one from dad. The 23rd chromosome determines our sex: XX is a girl and XY is a boy.
In addition to helping choose an embryo most likely to develop into a viable pregnancy, we can transfer only the embryos of the desired gender, with a 100 percent certainty that the baby will be a boy or a girl. Natural pregnancy gives a couple roughly a 50/50 chance of having a boy or a girl.
Our New York fertility center maintains records to track how many females versus males have been transferred as a result of family balancing requests. Unlike some countries, couples opting for PGD don’t tend to favor one sex over another. That may reassure people who question the motivation for family balancing.
Dr. Batzofin has performed PGD for family balancing for nearly a decade, serving individuals and couples in the U.S. and foreign countries who seek out his expertise in advanced reproductive technologies. In his experience, this particular fertility service provides the peace of mind from the day of conception for one of two reasons.
You will likely have extra embryos in an IVF cycle, which employs fertility medications to stimulate egg production. Dr. Batzofin always recommends that his patients have a conversation prior to the cycle about their preference for extra embryos.
Options for extra embryos include:
Watch this short video in which Dr. Batzofin describes the family balancing process and his views on the advantages of PGD. If you would like to speak directly with our New York fertility center, please contact us here