For couples with a family history of certain diseases, gender selection is more an imperative than a preference. About 500 serious diseases, including hemophilia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, develop only in males (though females can be carriers). Increasingly, experts say, couples at risk are using technology to avoid having a boy.
One method, called MicroSort and available at the Genetics and IVF Institute in Fairfax, Virginia, separates the X and Y sperm, then uses the desired kind to fertilize the egg either in vitro or through artificial insemination. The institute boasts a 91 percent success rate with girls and a 74 percent rate with boys. MicroSort, currently in FDA clinical trials, offers its services to married couples interested in family balancing and to families with genetic diseases. Fees start at about $2,550.
Copyright © 2003 Alice Lesch Kelly. Reprinted with permission from the April 2003 issue of Parents magazine.
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