A gender prediction test is a test done on or by pregnant women to determine the sex of babies. The traditional medical methods for determining gender in the past, and presently include chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis and ultrasound. Prior to these methods evolving, a number of folklore based concepts sought to accurately serve as gender prediction tests.
An old gender predictor test might encompass any number of factors. If a woman was carrying a baby “low” she was usually pregnant with a boy. Craving sweet things was said to mean you were carrying a girl. Acne also supposedly indicates a girl, and having uneven breasts means a boy. These gender prediction test types are of course inaccurate. But with only a 50% chance of getting it wrong, enough women who were curious about the sex of their unborn child were willing to try a few in order to guess at the baby’s gender.
The introduction of CVS, amniocenteses, and ultrasound brought more accuracy to the gender prediction test. Yet there were still chances to get it wrong. CVS is one of the earliest tests performed, and it does carry risk factors for miscarriage. Most women undergo CVS if they are at high risk for having children with severe medical problems or genetic anomalies, not because they wish to use the sampling as a gender prediction test.
In CVS a small amount of placenta material is carefully removed from the uterus. The placenta sampling is usually taken during the later part of the first trimester of pregnancy and. Since chromosomes are analyzed, CVS can accurately predict a child’s gender by detecting the presence of Y chromosomes. When these are absent, chances are you are having a girl.
Amniocentesis is not used as a gender prediction test but to detect possible problems with the baby. This is normally performed between the 16th and 20th week of pregnancy and analyzes a small amount of amniotic fluid to look for chromosomal problems. It can detect presence of Y chromosomes.
A less invasive gender prediction test is ultrasound or sonogram. Ultrasounds will most reliably predict gender after the 18th week. These don’t always work. Some babies are “shy” and don’t want to turn around to give the sonographers a full view. Occasionally, an ultrasound is inaccurate. Labial folds can sometimes look like a penis, or the penis may be hard to visualize.
One of the latest trends is moms using a non-invasive home gender prediction test. The most popular is The Baby Gender Mentor® by Acu-Gen. It uses a small finger prick sample of blood to test for y-chromosome presence. The mother performs the test, usually after the 8th week of pregnancy, and sends the result to Acu-Gen’s lab. The company claims a 99.9% accuracy rate and will refund money, about $275 US dollars (USD), if the test turns out to be wrong. There is some concern about accuracy, with some women now coming forward to claim Acu-Gen did not work. Acu-Gen has not published on their specific testing methods pending patent status for their test.
Also, there exists concern that a gender prediction test of this type would lead to gender selection. In other words, women might abort babies that were not the sex they wanted. This is considered less likely in the US, but more likely in countries where one gender is preferred. Regardless of stance on abortion, many bio-ethicists feel that gender selection disrupts the natural order of gender distribution and could result in gender imbalance if practiced on a wide scale.