The most widely used method of knowing whether you are carrying a baby girl or baby boy is the ultrasound. Pregnant women who decide to undergo prenatal care throughout their pregnancy will take an ultrasound at around eighteen weeks of pregnancy. This ultrasound is carried out to make sure that everything is ok with the baby and that it is developing into a healthy individual.
Amongst the many important uses of ultrasound are:
- To determine the age of the fetus
- Confirmation of your due date
- Establish the position of the placenta
- Determine fetal genetic health
Most moms would agree that these tests have really helped give them peace of mind and also been a great baby parenting experience that has helped them bond even better. An ultrasound scan, at this stage, also be used to discover the gender of the baby along with other important facts about your baby. Whilst the radiographer is carrying out your baby’s health check, he or she can also tell you the sex of the fetus – if, of course, you ask. But 18 weeks is a long time to wait to find out the gender of your baby. Also, the Food and Drug Administration discourages a pregnant woman from taking an ultrasound exclusively to discover whether they will have a boy or a girl. So what are your options?
Forget complex and risky procedures like amniocentesis. Amniocentesis would be very strongly discouraged to determine the sex of a baby. It is a risky and very costly procedure that should only be used if medical experts have reason to believe something might be wrong with the baby and need full confirmation of whether their suspicions are correct. There are other more simple procedures available.
All that needs to be done from a scientific perspective to know if the baby will be a boy or a girl is to confirm the presence of the male Y chromosomes. We know that only males can have Y chromosomes (23 pairs of XY chromosomes to be exact). Therefore, if the expectant mother has traces of Y chromosomes or Y chromosome pieces (in some cases the chromosomes might not be intact), we can deduce she is having a boy.
Blood samples are a good way of finding out whether or not there are any Y chromosomes of which presence can safely be attributed to a male baby. All the mother needs to do is provide a few drops of blood collected from the index finger by lightly puncturing the tip. The sample can then be sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Samples of maternal urine
More recently, scientists have evolved another baby gender prediction test that is still DNA based but rather than using blood, it actually uses urine. Using a maternal urine sample, a laboratory with the right expertise and equipment can establish whether there are any Y chromosomes in the sample of urine provided. If there are no Y chromosomes, it will be a girl. Both blood DNA testing and urine DNA testing can be done at 9 weeks of pregnancy.