Jan 292013
 

Let’s face it: We all want to know whether it’s a boy or a girl as soon as we know we’re pregnant. While medical science is giving us those answers sooner and sooner through ultrasound and amniocentesis, waiting until the beginning of the second trimester can be grueling. For most of us, that leaves depending on traditional tests, which aren’t exactly scientifically based. What if there was a scientifically proven test which could let us know earlier?

Blood DNA Tests

There is. It has been available for several years now, but don’t expect your doctor to tell you about it unless you have a medical need to know whether you are having a boy or a girl (apparently, most doctors don’t consider gnawing curiosity a medical need). Fortunately, the test-which tests the DNA in the mother’s blood to determine gender-is widely available online. The basic idea behind the tests is that some of the baby’s DNA is present in the mother’s blood. Therefore, if they can detect Y-chromosomes in the blood, you’re having a boy; if not, you’re having a girl.

The blood tests are noninvasive. They use blood from a finger prick, similar to that which diabetics use to test their blood sugar levels. They’re also highly accurate. The label on one popular brand, Pink or Blue, advertises over 99% accuracy when used after seven weeks of pregnancy. Scientific studies aren’t quite as optimistic about the blood tests’ accuracy, rating them at 95% accurate when taken at seven weeks of pregnancy or later.

Why Your Doctor (Probably) Won’t Prescribe One to You

Doctors have these blood gender prediction tests available to them, but are often hesitant to recommend them to patients. This is based in large part on the fear that expectant parents may use them for gender selection purposes, leading to an increase in selective abortions. This is big enough concern that Pink or Blue refuses to sell their products in countries which have a history of widespread gender selection practices. Doctors do occasionally prescribe blood DNA tests for gender prediction when there is a medical need to know the babies gender, such as when there is a risk of a gender-specific hereditary disease.

Fortunately, they’re not cost prohibitive. The tests themselves can be purchased for around $25. If you have your own lab, that’s a real bargain. Lab testing generally costs between $250 and $300. Whether $300 is worth knowing your baby’s gender a month early is up to you, of course. If not, you can always consult the Chinese Gender Prediction Calendar. 

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