Baby Gender Testing
Why are couples so curious about the gender of their baby? Are you interested in discovering whether you are expecting a boy or a girl? It is not uncommon in this day and age for people to seek the help of baby gender prediction tests or ultrasounds to learn the gender of the child they are expecting. Even in times gone by, people constantly resorted to potions and many strange methods to try and predict whether they will give birth to a baby girl or a baby boy.
Finding out the gender
Besides the many home gender prediction tests you might stumble upon whilst running a search online, there are also DNA tests available as well as ultrasounds. The home tests you read about and, which must be said, are hugely popular are in fact considered to be rather non-scientific, providing just a random answer between baby girl or baby boy (it is after all a 50% chance of either one).
Ultrasounds are a good way of finding out baby gender but you should keep in mind that it is not recommended to have an ultrasound to just find out the sex of your child. No concrete reason has been given for this and the sound waves emitted during this procedure have consistently been shown to be harmless. The only possible, yet almost negligible, chance of complications would be due to the heat produced by the ultrasound which normally is no more than an absolutely safe +1 degree.
Baby gender DNA tests have a number of advantages. First and foremost, they enable couples to find out the gender of their baby much earlier. For example, baby gender DNA testing with maternal urine can be done at just 9 weeks. Besides this reason, they are also easier to carry out as the samples needed are collected by the test participants at home (compared to ultrasounds which require a clinical appointment and the presence of a sonographer).
Baby gender DNA testing using maternal urine is the more recent gender test offered by a handful of companies including homeDNAdirect and one or two others. The more traditional method uses blood samples. Both tests are very accurate although using urine is more accurate than using blood. Also, both tests are based on what is referred to as the analysis of baby, or rather “fetal”, DNA. Fetal DNA is present in huge volumes in the fluid surrounding the unborn baby. Their presence has been studied and explained in depth by many scientific papers and journals and the study of fetal DNA has been subject of much research aimed at finding out whether the unborn child has any defects in a way that is accurate and just as importantly, safe for the mother and baby. Some of the fetal DNA found in the surrounding environment of the baby, exits the amniotic sac via the placenta and once in the mother’s blood stream, gets transported to the kidneys where it is flushed out with her urine. We can thus see that fetal DNA can be found in both maternal blood as well as maternal urine. A urine sample can be collected in the most straightforward and simple manner – in a simple urine sample collection cup just as one would collect any other urine sample. Once in the laboratory, it is only a question is isolating the fetal DNA and analyzing it to confirm whether the DNA in the sample is male or female. If any male DNA is found in the urine sample, it can only be attributed to a male baby. If there is no male DNA, then the baby will be a girl. Blood only differs in that it is less accurate (around 85-95%) and the required blood sample (either by pricking the finger or blood draw)
Why find out?
There are two main reasons why couples choose to find out the gender of their baby – the reasons are either practical or psychological. Practical reasons are mainly seen in those couple who like to have everything ready before hand. They do not want to be discussing baby names or shopping around for clothes once they bring their baby home for the first time. These couples like to have everything ready and sorted beforehand.
Psychological reasons include that insatiable curiosity that constantly probes the couples’ mind for just about every hour starting from the moment they discover they are parents-to-be. But there is also another dimension to the psychological urge or drive to finding out baby gender. For nine months you have a new addition to the family which you do not know the gender of. What do you refer to your baby as? “It?” – Well, knowing the gender during pregnancy means bringing the unborn child into the family whilst still in the womb. You can already begin referring to your baby by their chosen name or as “he” or “she”.
We cannot forget the many couples who actually find out whether they will have a baby boy or girl by accident. These couples find out through doctors overseeing their prenatal care visits who might use “he” or “she” to describe what they see during ultrasonography thereby revealing the gender to the couple without even realizing they have done so.