Family Balancing

Family Balancing

by | August 25th, 2015


Our New York fertility center takes a balanced look at family balancing

Family balancing

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.

How family balancing works

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.

Why couples choose family balancing

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.

  1. The parents would like to avoid passing down an inheritable genetic disease, some of which are specifically gender-linked genetic diseases ( eg hemophilia)
  2. The family would like another child, but prefers to add a sibling of a specific gender ( eg couple have two girls and wish to have one more child and they want certainty of having a boy).

Advice for couples choosing family balancing, or gender selection

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:

  • Donating anonymously to other infertile couple
  • Donating to medical research
  • Compassionate transfer (having the embryos transferred at a non-viable stage of the menstrual cycle)
  • Freezing the embryos and keeping them until certain no further children are wanted
  • Discarding the embryos

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


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The founder of New York Fertility Services, Joel Batzofin, M.D., began practicing at the advent of IVF. Fertility centers evolved as groundbreaking treatments and family-building options emerged. Our fertility doctors practice at the pinnacle of reproductive medicine—the ‘sweet spot’ where science, art and intuition meld. We are strong believers in combining advanced reproductive technologies with proven holistic, Eastern medicine therapies.

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