What is CVS Testing and How Does it Predict Baby’s Gender?



One of the most pressing questions on an expectant couple’s minds is whether they’re going to have a boy or a girl. Most couples find out definitively at that 18 to 20 week prenatal appointment via an ultrasound. Some couples, however, might have a procedure known as Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which can also predict baby’s gender.

Here are some things you should know about CVS:

  • CVS is primarily for detecting certain problems. If your doctor suspects a problem with your baby, you may be asked to undergo this testing.
  • CVS is done during your first trimester of pregnancy. If the results of the CVS indicate a serious problem with your baby, you may have some difficult decisions to make. For example, you may know that your baby will be born with certain conditions or defects, and this gives you time to prepare before your baby’s birth. If the problem is one that can be fatal to you or the baby, you may have to choose to end the pregnancy. Sometimes, the news from CVS is good, and will be a relief.
  • There are specific diseases and defects that CVS looks for. In fact, the list is in the hundreds. For example, it can detect Down Syndrome. It can’t detect every potential problem, however. It won’t detect neural tube defects, including those such as spina bifida. If you’re at risk for neural tube defects, you might undergo an amniocentesis instead of CVS.
  • CVS is not routinely done. There is a slight risk of miscarriage with CVS, therefore it’s not done unless necessary. Somewhere between 0.25% and 1% of women who undergo CVS will have a miscarriage. The test carries with it some risk, which your doctor will discuss with you ahead of time.
  • CVS is very expensive. If you’re over the age of 35, your insurance company will probably pay for the test due to the increased risks. Many insurance companies won’t cover it if you’re younger. If your insurance doesn’t cover CVS, there may be other procedures or tests that can be done in its place.
  • CVS will tell you your baby’s gender. Among other information, CVS will let you know for certain whether you’re having a boy or a girl.

CVS isn’t routinely used for baby gender prediction, because of the cost and the risks involved.