Frequently Asked Questions on PGD/IVF Gender Selection Costs & Other Topics
What is gender selection with PGD/PGS?
PGS (pre-implantation genetic screening) can help couples not only select the gender of their child but also can determine if an embryo contains the normal number of chromosomes seen in humans. PGS also can improve the implantation rates of embryos transferred by screening them beforehand to determine if there is the correct number of chromosomes (46, XX for female and 46, XY for a male). On the other hand, PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) can identify particular genetic diseases that a person may carry while also assisting couples who could potentially transmit a sex-linked genetic disease (disease carried on the sex chromosome) to their children. For example, hemophilia can only be transferred from an affected mother to her son.
Is PGD/PGS my only option for gender selection? At the current time, PGS is the only option for gender selection that is available to the larger population.
Do I have to do IVF to do PGD/PGS?
Yes, the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process is necessary in order to give the embryologists access to the embryos outside the body (in vitro). PGS is performed during an IVF cycle in which multiple eggs are produced, retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized with the husband’s sperm in the laboratory. A single cell is removed from each 3-day-old embryo through a procedure called embryo biopsy. A specialist called an embryologist examines the 3-day-old embryo for its sex chromosomes (XX or XY), and then one or more embryos of the selected sex are inserted into the woman’s uterus by a reproductive endocrinologist. How accurate is gender selection with PGD/PGS? PGS at HRC Fertility has a 99.8% accuracy in predicting an embryo’s gender. The reason that IVF-PGD is not 100% effective in gender selection is that in a miniscule amount of cases, when the single cell is removed from an embryo and screened, the embryologist may find no “signal.” This is quite rare, however. With statistics approaching 100%, PGD gives couples the best odds in determining their baby’s sex.
Who is eligible to use gender selection with PGD?
Patients who are already undergoing fertility treatment may consider family balancing because they are already undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and want to take advantage of the option of choosing gender with PGD/PGS. However, a couple may choose gender selection for their own reasons; for example, perhaps they are an older couple who wants to have one child of each sex. Experiencing fertility treatments for gender selection can be a tough road. Couples need to be strong, committed and supportive to get through the process. Communication is also key; expressing thoughts and feelings with each other, or with a counselor, can help couples walk through the process.
Is gender selection legal?
Yes, gender selection is legal in the United States; however, it is not legal in some other countries. According to the International Federation of Fertility Societies Surveillance 2010, surveys of 105 countries found that gender selection by either sperm sorting techniques and/or embryo biopsy is allowed by statute in only 15 countries, not allowed in 43 and not mentioned in law in 15. Gender selection is practiced by one or both techniques in 26 countries.
Are there any risks to the mother with PGD/PGS?
There are no additional risks to the mother with PGD/PGS. She experiences the same risks as a woman undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) without PGD. While most couples proceed through IVF and pregnancy without difficulty, risks do include: high-risk multiples (unless only one embryo is transferred); ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)), a condition in which the ovaries get very large and filled with fluid in response to the gonadotropin medications; pelvic infection; ectopic pregnancy; adnexal torsion (ovarian twisting); or internal bleeding during egg retrieval.
Are there any risks to the baby with gender selection?
The available data indicate that pregnancy rates are reduced with each cell that is taken out of the embryo for PGD/PGS testing, but practical experience from fertility centers that perform large numbers of PGS cases every year does not support this indication. At HRC Fertility, the embryologists take only one cell out of the embryo for gender determination, so family balancing patients do not have to worry about more cells being removed. Some fertility clinics in the past have routinely removed more than one cell in their embryo biopsies, for medical or genetic reasons. If you are having your IVF-PGD cycle performed at a clinic that has a lot of experience with doing PGD, then you and your embryos, are in good hands.
How much does gender selection with PGD/IVF cost?
Gender selection with PGD/PGS adds approximately $3,000 to $5,000 to the cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Most fertility clinics accept insurance for many fertility procedures, but few, if any, cover family-balancing treatment. However, insurance policies vary in terms of what they cover in terms of infertility treatment, so if you’re coping with secondary infertility and in doing so, want to choose the gender of your baby for family balancing purposes, the cost of some gender selection or IVF procedures may be covered.
Are there financing options to help pay for gender selection costs?
HRC works with CapexMD for fertility treatment financing. With their easy loan process and competitive rates, CapexMD ensures the financial aspects of treatment are not an obstacle to your family-building dream. CapexMD offers a wide variety of loan options, allowing you to attain the necessary financing required to make your treatment affordable. Each loan program is designed to fit your individual circumstances and once approved, their Fertility Loan Specialists will work closely with your fertility center to ensure the funds are secured prior to the commencement of your treatment.
Must I already have one child to be eligible to do gender selection?
When gender selection is used to prevent a genetic disease, its indication is considered “medical,” and you do not have to have another child. However, if the decision to choose a child’s gender is done for family balancing purposes, it is considered an “elective” process. At HRC Fertility, your doctor will discuss the best approach for you as an individual.
Are there any prerequisites to doing gender selection?
The ethics committee for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the leading organization for information, education and advocacy in the field of reproductive medicine, has stated: “physicians should be free to offer preconception gender selection in clinical settings to couples who are seeking gender variety in their offspring if the couples 1) are fully informed of the risks of failure, 2) affirm that they will fully accept children of the opposite sex, if the preconception gender selection fails, 3) are counseled about having unrealistic expectations about the behavior of children of the preferred gender, and 4) are offered the opportunity to participate in research to track and assess the safety, efficacy and demographics of preconception selection.” At HRC Fertility, your doctor will discuss the best approach for you as an individual.
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