For anyone unfamiliar with the IVF process, the option to choose the gender of your baby may seem controversial. But gender selection actually happens quite often in fertility clinics around the world, especially in Cyprus.
Gender selection is a small aspect of the complex IVF process in which embryos get evaluated, graded and selected based on quality and gender. Choosing the sex of your baby with IVF is not that complicated as it might seem. Yet, it requires a considerable technical expertise and cutting-edge technology to ensure the highest level of accuracy.
Gender Selection Options
Gender Selection in Cyprus is possible thanks to the latest technological advances in IVF such as PGS Cyprus (Preimplantation Genetic Screening) and Sperm Swim Up. Depending on the method for gender selection, the sex of the embryos can be determined before or after fertilization.
The gender selection options allow fertility doctors to create babies whose risk levels are the same as anyone else’s. Gender selection is based on the assumption that if we create healthy babies, we will ultimately save money on testing and treatment in the long run.
PGS and Sperm Swim Up ensure a successful pregnancy, and a healthy baby of the desired gender. This is especially true for women who have experienced multiple miscarriages in the past, or women of advanced reproductive age. There is a positive correlation between chromosomally abnormal embryos and woman’s age.
Family balancing is also an option for parents who wish for a baby boy or baby girl. Non-medical gender selection is done when intended parents select the gender of their baby that is not represented in their family.
Swim Up Method Gender Selection
Sperm Washing for Gender Selection
Sperm washing separates viable sperm from other components of the ejaculate as these tend to migrate towards the cervical mucus. Viable sperm cells are separated from the seminal plasma usually within 30 minutes to 1 hour of ejaculation. This is done in order to prevent damage to the leukocytes and other cells present in the semen.
Sperm washing removes any mucus and non-motile sperm from the semen, thus improving the chance of fertilization. This technique eliminates the risk of transmitting certain diseases from the parents to the child.
Swim Up Method
Swim-up is one of the most commonly used techniques for sperm washing. In swim-up, the pre-washed sperm obtained by a soft spin, is placed in a conical tube along with a culture medium.
The swim up method for gender selection involves the following steps:
- Allow the sperm sample to liquefy completely for 15–30 minutes in a 37°C incubator before processing.
- Measure volume using a sterile pipet.
- Transfer the sperm sample to a sterile conical centrifuge tube.
- Gently mix the sperm sample with culture media in a ratio of 1:4 using a sterile pasteur pipet.
- Centrifuge the tubes at 1600 rpm for 10 minutes.
- Aspirate the supernatant (liquid lying above a solid residue).
- Centrifuge the tubes at 500 rpm for 5 minutes.
- Incubate the tubes at a 45° angle for 1 hour in a 37°C incubator.
- After the incubation period, aspire and transfer the supernatant into a single conical centrifuge tube.
- Centrifuge the tube at 1600 rpm for 7 minutes.
- Aspirate the supernatant. These are the viable sperm cells that will be used for gender selection in Cyprus.
The medium used in this technique provides the sperm with a nourishing environment and attracts the sperm cells. The viable sperm cells swim into the medium. The ones that go furthest away are retrieved since they meet the basic requirements for motility, viability and shape.
Why Swim Up Method for Gender Selection Cyprus?
The swim-up method is considered the best technique for sperm preparation during IUI treatment and IVF Cyprus. This method recovers viable sperm cells with the lowest DNA fragmentation rate. DNA fragmentation occurs when the DNA strands are separated or broken. If damaged, the DNA may lead to fertilization or implantation failure, and ultimately it may decrease the chance of pregnancy and IVF success.
Furthermore, the low cost and reduced time make swim-up the best option for sperm preparation in gender selection Cyprus.
Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is a genetic test performed on embryos before implantation during IVF Cyprus. The test screens embryos for chromosomal abnormalities. The ultimate goal of PGS Cyprus is to make sure that only healthy embryos are transferred to the mother’s uterus.
PGS Cyprus Process
PGS Cyprus is usually done on day 5 after fertilization when embryos reach a blastocyst stage. With PGS, fertility doctors not only can choose a baby’s gender, but they can also detect a number of chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. This means that embryos will be placed under a powerful microscope, and a few cells will be extracted for a lab analysis. During the procedure, embryos are safely frozen is a process called cryopreservation.
The DNA of the cells is evaluated to ensure there are no defects. Embryos with a normal genetic makeup are fertilized with the father’s or donor’s sperm. At this point, ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) Cyprus method will be applied to ensure that embryos are successfully fertilized with the sperm. ICSI involves injecting a single healthy sperm cells into each collected egg. It is considered the most efficient method of fertilization during IVF Cyprus.
During PGS Cyprus, fertility doctors can detect the gender of the embryos. As they test X and Y chromosomes for abnormalities, the gender of each embryo, XX or XY, becomes obvious.
Gender Selection Ethics
When gender selection is used to prevent a genetic disorder in the offspring, it is called medical gender selection. Gender selection is also possible for non-medical (elective) reasons. This is called family balancing.
Gender selection for non-medical reasons raises social and moral issues. Many people fear that the practice of choosing babies of a particular gender may distort the human sex ratio. Another concern related to this phenomenon is that non-medical gender selection may cause gender imbalance and reinforce discriminatory and sexiest stereotypes.
In one survey in the USA regarding gender selection, 39% of respondents answered they would like their first child to be a son, 19% would like their first child to be a daughter, and 42% had no preference. Based on the survey, gender selection is unlikely to have a significant impact on the natural sex ratio.
Gender Selection at euroCARE IVF Cyprus
Our clinic has clear ethical guidelines regarding gender selection. We screen embryos primarily for health reasons. If a patient wants to know the gender as a byproduct, then we respect their decision and act accordingly.
Before choosing the gender of your baby, our fertility doctor will provide counseling to help you and your partner decide on the best course of action during your IVF treatment in Cyprus.
For more information on our gender selection methods and procedures, click here to schedule a free fertility consultation.
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