FISH & PCR Techniques
To perform molecular cytogenetic analysis the cells obtained from the embryo biopsies are marked with various florescent dyes in preparation for analysis. This method is called FISH (Fluorescent in Situ Hybridization). Different parts of the chromosome can be dyed based on the purpose of the test. The advantage of the FISH method is that the dye can be applied directly to the cell’s nucleus without having to isolate the specific chromosomes. For Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, a panel of as many as 9 chromosomes (13, 16, 18, 21, 22, 15, 17, X and Y) can be dyed for analysis.
The blastomeres which are removed from the embryo for biopsy are placed in tubes where the DNA is denatured and multiple copies of a gene are generated
Prenatal Sex Selection
One can find out the baby’s gender as early as 8-10th week of pregnancy. This method, called Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), entails genetic testing done on a biopsy taken from the placenta. Also one can run genetic tests on cells obtained from the amniotic fluid. This method is called amniocentesis and is done after the 16th week of pregnancy.
The sex of the baby can usually be determined by ultrasound at any time after 12-14 weeks. Differentiation of external genitalia occurs after 12 weeks and ultrasonography has advanced technologically to distinguish the genitalia soon after that.
As a consequence, a couple might try to abort the baby if he/she isn’t the desired gender. This method, commonly seen in China and India, is highly unethical and is under no means practiced in our clinic.
Methods used after the birth of the baby
Unfortunately killing babies when they are not the desired gender is still practiced in several countries even though it is illegal. These countries are China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, New Guinea, and some West African countries.
Abandoning children of unwanted sex is still practiced in some cultures even though it is also illegal.
Giving unwanted (for social reasons or sex selection) children up for adoption is commonly practiced in all countries. A famous example is Apple Computer Co.’s CEO Steve Jobs. His adoptive parents provided an entirely different social atmosphere from his biological parents who gave him up for adoption because they wanted a girl.