Parents who want to know the gender of their unborn baby will most likely turn to a gender blood test. Other than waiting for the ultrasound at 20 weeks to visually confirm the baby’s gender, this test is the best available option for finding out the gender of the baby as early as 10 weeks in.
A gender blood test is the most accurate test available, but it is not foolproof. Continue reading to learn about how gender blood tests work and the answer to how accurate are gender blood tests.
Why Order a Gender Blood Test?
Many parents want to know the gender of their baby so they can start buying clothes, have a gender reveal party, or just satisfy their curiosity. However, a gender test can have a more practical application, such as ruling out a genetic disorder that runs in the family and only affects a certain gender.
Regardless of the motivation behind them, gender blood tests are generally considered the safer version of CVS or chorionic villus sampling. While CVS is accurate, it is an invasive test that requires procuring a sample of the placenta, which, while generally safe, poses a small risk of miscarriage.
To avoid this risk, parents often waited for the ultrasound at 12-20 weeks to determine the baby’s gender. Even then, ultrasounds can be misread up to 5% of the time due to the fetus’s position or the doctor’s mistake. However, a DNA screening from a gender blood test is now available to provide a non-invasive prenatal test for the fetus’s gender without the need for extracting and testing cells.
This means that parents can find out the baby’s gender with much less risk. The tests are also very accurate. But particularly anxious couples may be wondering exactly how accurate they are.
How Gender Blood Tests Work
Gender blood tests are conducted the same way as other noninvasive prenatal testing (or NIPT), such as that which screens for chromosomal disorders. It works by simply analyzing a sample of the mother’s DNA and does not require direct sampling from the womb.
This is because the mother and baby’s DNA are both circulating in the mother’s bloodstream. When tested, doctors can search for evidence of Y chromosomes, which would indicate that the DNA in the bloodstream is that of a boy.
Measuring the accuracy of gender blood tests
Gender blood tests are considered accurate up to 98.6% of the time that genuine results are procured. The blood tests also produced a result 95% of the time, which is a measure of the test’s “sensitivity.”
This means that if 100 mothers received a gender blood test, doctors would assume that 5 of them would need to be retested to get readable results. Only 1-2 of the mothers would receive results that are inaccurate in predicting the baby’s gender.
This makes gender blood tests as accurate as any test devised to determine an unborn baby’s gender. With the low risks associated with NIPTs compared to amniocentesis and CVS, a gender blood test is often the first choice for expectant parents to find out what they have in store.
Potential Controversy Surrounding Gender Blood Tests
While gender blood tests are considered an accurate and safe way to determine gender and rule out genetic disorders, they are also the subject of some controversy.
In regions where abortion is illegal after a certain trimester, for instance, a gender blood test could be used to determine a baby’s gender and abort the pregnancy for “social” reasons, as opposed to health ones. In the UK, such a use of a gender blood test is considered illegal.
However, since parents do not have to legally confirm the purpose of a gender blood test and since abortion is allowed in many places, the tests remain controversial but not illegal.
A gender blood test provides an accurate way to determine the baby’s gender as early as 10 weeks and poses no greater risks than a normal blood draw. With the risk of miscarriage all but eliminated, the accuracy of the tests at around 98.6% makes them the first test usually ordered to determine gender that early.
However, the controversy surrounding the tests and various costs determined by your healthcare provider continue to make them a subject of some debate for legislators as well as expectant parents.
Speedy Sticks is a mobile concierge phlebotomy service that provides at-home blood draws and on-site diagnostic/health screenings for businesses and individuals. One of these tests is a gender blood test which can be performed by one of our specialists. Book an appointment today.
*This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace consulting with a healthcare professional. Please consult with your primary care physician or healthcare provider before engaging in any services offered by Speedy Sticks.
**These are approximations, and experts disagree on some values. Consult your healthcare provider for recommendations suitable for you. It is also important to ensure the levels are given in the same measurements, such as mg/dL, etc.