Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure for treating infertility. The procedure for IUI is straightforward; it takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is usually done in a doctor’s office or clinic. Sperm that have been “washed” and concentrated are placed directly in your uterus on the day after your ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. The hoped-for outcome of intrauterine insemination is for the sperm to swim into the fallopian tubes and fertilize a waiting egg, resulting in a normal pregnancy.
Depending on the reasons for infertility, IUI can be coordinated with your normal cycle or done in conjunction with fertility medications.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure used to treat fertility problems and assist with the conception of a child. During IVF, mature eggs are retrieved from your ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs are implanted in your uterus. One cycle of IVF takes about two weeks.
IVF is the most effective form of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). The procedure can be done using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm, donor eggs, donor sperm or donor embryos. In some cases, a gestational carrier – a woman who has an embryo implanted in her uterus – might be used.
While there is an overwhelming amount of information on the Internet about gender selection options, please be careful as much of this information is filled with scams, old wives tales and unproven techniques. There are only 2 proven techniques that may affect the gender of your children. They are sperm-sorting (including the procedure Microsort) and IVF with the use of PGD.
This technique has been used in many formats for over 30 years. These methods work on the premise that they separate the X and Y-sperm by use of centrifugation. During centrifugation, controlled spinning causes particles in a sample to become sorted into layers according to density of those particles. Sorting separates the more dense X-sperm from the lighter Y-sperm. One half of the sperm normally produced by a healthy male will carry the Y-chromosome producing a male child, and the other half of the sperm will be the X-chromosome producing a female child. By altering the number of one chromosome or the other by separating the layers, one is increasing the chances of producing a child of a specific gender. During sperm sorting, the sperm cells are separated from the seminal fluid, the sperm are concentrated into healthy and motile sperm, abnormal sperm is filtered out, and finally the separation of the X and Y-sperm concentrates the sample to the desired gender. The remaining sample is more likely to result in a successful pregnancy and will increase the odds of the desired gender group. This technique is widely used and is a standard process in IVF and IUI procedures.
After the sperm is sorted, the sample will be inseminated into the woman which is an in office technique. The most well-known method of sperm sorting is the Ericsson Method.
Success rates for this type of procedure can range from 78-85% in a couple seeking a boy, and 73-75% in a couple seeking a girl.
IVF with PGD
The technique PGD is the only method which can virtually guarantee the gender of your choice because embryos are tested for gender before they are implanted in the womb. These tested embryos are created for the purpose of IVF. The eggs are harvested from the mother (or donor) and the sperm sample is taken from the father (or donor) and the embryos are created in the lab for later implantation. These embryos are subject to a biopsy procedure on the third day of growth that allows a single cell to be analyzed for male or female chromosomes. While this is the most accurate technique, it is by far the most involved and most costly. PGD is commonly used for couples with a family history of a genetic disorder and older mothers are more likely to have a baby with genetic birth defects. PGD is not 100% reliable and only tests for specific defects, parents should use other prenatal genetic tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. PGD is expensive and still considered an experimental procedure. Clinics will not allow couples to partake in PGD even if they are willing to pay for the services if the couple simply wants to influence the gender of their child. Screening processes are extremely stringent and in most cases a couple will only be accepted if they have a genetic abno rmality they are attempting to avoid.