For some couples, the gender of their baby is important. Using the same technology that is used to perform pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS), we can determine the gender of an embryo before it is even implanted in the womb, so you can be certain that if you do conceive a child, it will be of the gender of your choice.
Family balancing screening can only be carried out as part of an IVF or ICSI treatment. The process is much the same as for PGS: first, the woman takes drugs to boost her egg production, then her cycle is monitored using ultrasound screenings to establish when the eggs have reached peak maturity.
At that point, the eggs are extracted and placed in a petri dish with the sperm to fertilise (or, in ICSI, each egg will be injected with an individual, pre-selected sperm). Once fertilised, the embryos are left to develop for a couple of days.
This is the stage at which the embryos would usually be transferred to the womb. However, if the couple has chosen to undergo screening for family balancing purposes, an embryologist will now take a couple of sample cells from each embryo. These can be screened for certain genetic conditions and chromosomal problems, as well as to discover the gender of the embryo.
Many couples choose the have a child of the opposite gender of their children, thus making their family well balanced. This procedure can help to take some of the stress out of the pregnancy. Because the screening is performed at a chromosomal level, the accuracy of the test is virtually 100%, so if you do achieve pregnancy, you can plan ahead from the very beginning.
An additional benefit of the screening process is that it offers the chance to screen for any chromosomal abnormalities as well. It has been shown that embryos with chromosome problems are at a much greater risk of miscarriage than those without.
We understand that there are many factors at play when it comes to deciding whether to screen your embryos or to choose to balance your family. Our team will be on hand to help you through the process, whatever your decision.
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