Family Balancing

What is family balancing?

Family balancing or gender selection, as it is also known, is the process whereby the sex of an embryo is determined prior to transferring back to the uterus. The gender of an embryo can be assessed by performing preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). PGT can also simultaneously check the embryo for genetic abnormalities.


What is the process?

In order to proceed with PGT the patient follows the same steps as those for routine ICSI treatment. The main difference is that an embryo biopsy is performed – on either day 3 or day 5/6 of embryonic development. During the biopsy a few cells are removed from each embryo and are sent to a genetics lab for analysis. If proceeding with a day 3 biopsy a fresh embryo transfer can usually follow. If proceeding with a day 5/6 biopsy, the embryos are usually frozen immediately after the biopsy procedure and once the results of the genetic analysis have been confirmed a frozen embryo transfer is scheduled.

The healthy embryos of the desired gender can then be transferred back to the uterus.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are three main reasons for proceeding with gender selection:

  • medical reasons—such as preventing the birth of a child affected or at risk of X-linked disorders.

  • family balancing reasons—where couples choose to have a child of one sex because they already have one or more children of the other sex.

  • gender preference reasons— often in favor of male offspring stemming from cultural, social, and economic bias in favor of male children and as a result of policies requiring couples to limit reproduction to one child, as in China.

Should you decide to proceed with gender selection we will provide you with a list of partner clinics worldwide where gender selection is permitted and is part of routine fertility treatment.