“Am I having a boy or a girl? When can you find out a baby’s gender?”
It’s one of the most often asked questions by excited parents. Knowing about their baby’s sex lets them manage their expectations (especially if they’re biased towards a particular gender) and also helps them with their preparations (choosing clothes, accessories, etc.)
You can now find out your baby’s sex at various times of pregnancy, from the first trimester through the day of delivery. Here’s what expecting parents should know.
When can you find out a baby’s gender?
A prenatal sex test can predict a baby’s sex but not its gender.
While sex is biological, gender is the social role that a person eventually identifies with. Some people grow up to reject gender entirely, while others identify as nonbinary or as a gender other than the one assigned to them by healthcare providers at birth.
Parents should consider that sex does not necessarily predict a child’s gender. Furthermore, neither sex nor gender identification discloses anything about the child’s future personality or interests.
But if you are interested to find out how soon can you know about your baby’s sex, experts are saying that some tests can provide accurate results from the 10th week of gestation.
Furthermore, no prenatal sex testing is completely reliable. Human error, odd chromosomes, flaws in testing, and scientific knowledge all contribute to the chance of a surprise at birth.
Sex vs. Gender
First and foremost, the distinction between sex and gender must be made. The sex of a baby is decided by its reproductive organs, chromosomes, hormones, and so on. Gender, on the other hand, is not fixed.
“Everyone’s gender is unique to them and can be independent of their chromosomal complement,” says Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut’s medical director, Mark P. Leondires, MD. He explains: “For example, someone who is born with the chromosome complement 46XY may identify as male, non-binary or female.”
Image from iStock
How to Determine Baby’s Sex
When it comes to determining the gender of your child, there is no single test that is used for everyone. So, if you wish to know the sex ahead of time, your doctor can utilise various tests at various stages of your pregnancy.
However, while all of these tests are reliable, they are not all appropriate for everyone. Some of them are really dangerous. Finding out the sex is a secondary benefit for the majority of the tests listed, as the test is looking for other information.
From the earliest options, the following are possible ways to learn your baby’s sex.
An ultrasound is a normal prenatal test in which you lie on a table and have your stomach scanned. This test uses sound waves to create an image of your baby and is frequently used to monitor your baby’s development and health.
Because ultrasound provides an image of your baby, it can also disclose the gender of your baby. Most doctors arrange an ultrasound between 18 and 21 weeks, but the sex can be established by ultrasound as early as 14 weeks.
Image from iStock
Although a baby’s penis or vulva begins to form as early as 6 weeks, boy and girl newborns look quite identical on ultrasound until around 14 weeks, and they can still be difficult to distinguish for several weeks after that.
If the baby is in a posture that allows the genitals to be seen, an ultrasound technician will most likely be able to identify the sex by 18 weeks. Otherwise, if you get another ultrasound later in your pregnancy, you may be able to find out.
However, it is not always 100 per cent accurate. Your baby may be in an uncomfortable posture, making it difficult to see the genitals clearly. If the technician is unable to locate a penis, they will assume that you are having a girl, and vice versa. However, mistakes do occur.
2. Non-invasive prenatal test
Noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT), a blood test that can detect Down syndrome and a few other chromosomal disorders, can reveal your baby’s sex beginning at 10 weeks of pregnancy. The findings take a week or two to get back. It also looks for male sex chromosome fragments in your blood, which can be used to identify whether you’re carrying a boy or a girl.
This test is meant for women who are at a higher risk of having a child with chromosomal problems, but it is frequently available to women who are at a lower risk as well. Discuss if the test is appropriate for you with your provider.
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If you choose NIPT and get a positive result, your doctor would most likely prescribe an amniocentesis (or “amnio”) test to follow up on the results.
Amniocentesis is a technique used to diagnose and detect developmental problems in a fetus. A small amount of amniotic fluid is collected by your doctor, which contains cells that signal problems. Down syndrome, spina bifida, and other genetic disorders are examined in the cells.
If an ultrasound reveals an anomaly, if you are beyond the age of 35 at the time of delivery, or if you have a family history of chromosome disorders, your healthcare professional may recommend an amniocentesis. This test is available between 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy and takes about 30 minutes.
Your doctor will use an ultrasound to verify your baby’s position in the womb before inserting a small needle into your abdomen to remove the amniotic fluid. Cramping, bruising, and spotting are all risks. There is also the possibility of miscarriage.
An amniocentesis not only detects birth defects and other anomalies in your kid, but it also determines the gender of your child. The results of this test will be available in two weeks. So, if you don’t want to know, let your doctor know before the test so he doesn’t spill the beans.
4. Chorionic villus sampling
CVS, like amniocentesis, is only performed if your prenatal tests are positive. One genetic test used to determine Down syndrome is chronic villus sampling (CVS). This test takes a sample of chorionic villus, which is a form of placental tissue. It displays your baby’s genetic information.
This test is available as early as the 10th or 12th week of pregnancy. It can also indicate your baby’s sex because it contains gene information about him or her. The results of this test will be available in two weeks.
If you are above the age of 35 or have a family history of chromosome abnormalities, your doctor may recommend CVS. This is an accurate test for determining the gender of the baby, but it does have certain hazards.
Some women have cramping, bleeding, or amniotic fluid leakage, and there is also a risk of miscarriage and preterm labor.
5. In vitro fertilization with sex selection
Artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. | Image from iStock
If you’re considering in vitro fertilization (IVF), you can choose the gender of your baby. IVF helps with fertility by uniting a mature egg with sperm outside of the body. This produces an embryo, which is then implanted in the womb.
If you like, you can have the sex of separate embryos determined and then only transfer the embryos of your selected sex.
If having a kid of a specific gender is important to you, this could be an option.
Sex selection in conjunction with IVF is approximately 99 per cent correct. However, there is a chance of multiple births with IVF if more than one embryo is transferred to the uterus.
Learning your baby’s sex can be thrilling and useful in preparing for his or her birth. Some couples, on the other hand, like the anticipation and learn the gender of their kid only in the delivery room — and that’s absolutely fine.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.