Most people think that a baby’s sex is determined through an ultrasound only, but the reality is that many tests exist that can provide gender results. Depending on the test and even the method of conception, the timeline for discovering a baby’s gender will vary widely. In total, modern healthcare can identify a baby’s sex in 5 different ways.
Knowing before embryo transfer
For women and couples who conceive with in vitro fertilization (IVF), the health care provider can confirm the baby’s sex before transferring the embryos. Specifically, women and couples that opt for preimplantation genetic testing during a cycle can have the sex confirmed, and the test is considered 100% accurate. In contrast, couples that opt for multiple embryo transfers won’t know which sex successfully implanted.
A first-trimester blood test
Some women opt for non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), a simple blood test that screens for chromosomal conditions. In some cases, the test can be administered as early as nine weeks but is usually given between weeks 10 and 13. Along with screening for chromosomal issues, the test also looks for male sex chromosomes, making the screener incredibly accurate.
First-trimester genetic testing
NIPT evolved as a non-invasive method for testing for genetic conditions because the more established options, while effective, are invasive and have an associated risk of causing miscarriage. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis are two tests that are administered between 10 to 13 weeks and 16 to 20 weeks, respectively. While the tests accurately determine gender, the risk of miscarriage means that a physician won’t recommend the examination unless a woman is at risk of genetic or chromosomal problems.
The classic ultrasound
If undergoing additional testing isn’t an option for a woman, waiting for the 20-week ultrasound is the best non-invasive way to determine a baby’s gender reliably. In some cases, the ultrasound can be performed as early as 14 weeks, but most experts agree that testing is best for accuracy between weeks 18 and 22. And aside from the cold feeling of the ultrasound gel on a woman’s belly, the test is non-invasive.
Ready for the gender reveal
There are countless reasons for a couple wanting to know a baby’s gender. And thankfully, three reliable non-invasive methods depend on conception methods and if a woman opts to undergo genetic testing. The tried and true ultrasound is available to all low- to high-risk pregnancies but requires the most extended wait. A couple concerned about genetic or chromosomal issues can opt for blood tests in the late first trimester. And IVF couples can learn a baby’s sex before embryo transfer.