The Answer to Choosing Your Baby’s Gender in Spain

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Can you choose your baby’s gender in Spain?

We speak with Ana García Sifre, one of our embryologist, about the possibility of choosing your baby’s gender in Spain, and we’ll tell you all about it.

Ana

Can You Choose Your Baby’s Gender?

In Spain, choosing your baby’s gender for personal preferences is not allowed. However, it is legal to select the gender to prevent genetic diseases associated with gender.

Some genetic diseases may affect one gender exclusively even though the parents are healthy carriers of the genetic mutation and show no symptoms.

Gender selection is only possible through Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGT or PGT-A) which is performed in the context of an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment.

Cases Where You Can Choose the Baby’s Gender in Fertility Clinics

Genetic Diseases Linked to Sex Chromosomes

There are over 300 genetic diseases associated with sex chromosomes that are transmitted through the 23 pairs of chromosomes inherited from the parents. Some of the most significant genetic diseases related to sex chromosomes include:

Retinitis Pigmentosa:

This degenerative and hereditary disease linked to the X chromosome is characterized by a progressive loss of vision that usually begins in adolescence.

Fragile X Syndrome:

It is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation and is caused by a defect in a gene that prevents the production of a crucial protein for brain development.

Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophies:

It is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation and is caused by a defect in a gene that prevents the production of a crucial protein for brain development.

Hemophilia A and B:

These bleeding disorders are caused by mutations in the F8 and F9 genes respectively, affecting blood clotting ability. Both conditions present similar symptoms.

How Can You Choose Your Baby’s Gender Through Assisted Reproduction?

First, it’s important to understand that there are genetic analysis techniques in reproduction laboratories that allow us to know the information related to the embryo’s gender.

In cases where the gender selection of the baby is legally justified, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGT) is used.  As mentioned earlier, this process begins with in vitro fertilization where the future mother is hormonally stimulated to obtain mature eggs that are then fertilized in the laboratory.

Around the fifth or sixth day of embryonic development, an embryonic biopsy is performed to analyze the DNA and determine the embryo’s gender by inspecting the sex chromosomes in a sample from the embryo’s trophectoderm.

Several cells are extracted to analyze the chromosomes and determine the future baby’s gender based on its chromosomal configuration—XX for female and XY for male.

How to Know If It Will Be a Boy or a Girl?

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If we have XX chromosomes, we know we are dealing with a female embryo. However, if we have a XY chromosome, we are talking about a male embryo.

This information is confidential to embryologists; we only know if the number of chromosomes is correct or not.

When Can You Know the Baby’s Gender?

There are home methods to determine the baby’s gender, but they lack scientific evidence. The baby’s gender can be known at 20 weeks of pregnancy through an ultrasound.

This is the most used method to determine the baby’s gender safely and non-invasively. Although it is possible to identify the gender a few weeks earlier, the reliability significantly increases during this ultrasound.

During the procedure, the specialist will assess whether the fetal position allows a clear visualization of the genitals. If a scrotal sac and a penis are observed, it will be confirmed as a boy; if no male genitals are detected or the labia majora are seen, it will be indicated as a girl.

Additionally, this ultrasound also allows for the assessment of other important aspects of fetal development.

Spanish Legislation on Assisted Human Reproduction

Currently, Spanish legislation does not permit gender selection during embryo selection, as stipulated by Law 14/2006, of May 26, on assisted human reproduction techniques. It is considered a very serious offence to select the sex or engage in genetic manipulation for non-therapeutic or unauthorized therapeutic purposes.

It is important to note that we can use Assisted Reproduction techniques in cases where there is a hereditary disease linked to sex chromosomes. In these cases, it is necessary for patients to go through a National Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction. Once the fertility clinic receives approval from the committee, the gender selection process for the future baby can be carried out.

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