It’s normal for prospective parents to be concerned about everything as they get closer to their delivery date. While some parents enjoy the suspense, others will benefit greatly from the answer to the question: when can you find out the gender of your baby? For many parents, knowing the gender is more than a practicality. Just by knowing something for sure and having a clearer idea of what to expect from their new baby, parents can feel a little more confident and in control.
Despite the many myths about being able to tell a baby’s gender from the size of the bump or the mother’s diet, only doctors can tell you for sure what the gender of your baby will be. Here’s a brief guide to the timeline and tests you’ll be working with when trying to learn your baby’s gender.
How Do Doctors Determine a Baby’s Gender?
Different tests allow doctors to determine the gender of your baby at different times during the pregnancy. Depending on how and when your baby was conceived, you may have different options available to find out whether the baby is a boy or girl.
Though these tests produce reliable results, some come with risks. Continue reading to learn more about the tests available and when they might apply to your baby.
In vitro fertilization
The earliest you can learn your baby’s gender is if you opt for an in vitro fertilization procedure or IVF. An IVF is frequently used for couples who have difficulty conceiving a baby. The process involves merging a sperm and an egg in laboratory conditions and then implanting it into the mother’s womb.
Those attending the procedure can selectively identify and include embryos of only one gender if the parents prefer. This process is called sex selection and is nearly 100% accurate in predicting the gender of the baby.
Another non-invasive procedure that can determine your baby’s gender is an anatomy scan, performed during the second trimester (around weeks 18-22). This scan is a detailed ultrasound that checks the fetus for physical abnormalities.
As a result of the scan, a doctor can often see the gender of the baby based on their genitals. If the test is done early or the baby’s position obscures their genitals, the doctor may not be able to decide. However, this routine scan is often the easiest way for parents to find out the gender of their baby.
These scans can be conducted as early as 14 weeks into the pregnancy, though the earlier it is conducted, the less likely the doctor’s gender determination will be accurate. If any physical abnormalities are detected, your doctor may prescribe one of the more invasive tests listed below.
Non-invasive prenatal test
An NIPT or non-invasive prenatal test can be conducted from the 10th week of the pregnancy. This test screens the fetus for abnormal chromosome readings that could be indicative of Down syndrome or other abnormalities.
An NIPT does not confirm a diagnosis of Down syndrome but does check for the chances. Your doctor will conduct additional tests to confirm it.
The test is conducted in a lab on a sample of the mother’s blood. It is therefore non-invasive and poses no risks to the pregnancy. Since chromosomes determine a baby’s gender, the doctor will incidentally find this out as a result of the test and can inform the parents, if they wish.
During the 15th to around the 18th week of pregnancy, you can order an amniocentesis, which tests for abnormalities in the fetus. These include genetic conditions like spina bifida and Down syndrome.
The test is conducted directly on the amniotic fluid, which requires an ultrasound to identify the baby’s location, as well as inserting a needle to withdraw the fluid. The procedure takes around 30 minutes and comes with several risks, including bleeding and potentially causing a miscarriage.
As with other genetic tests, an amniocentesis also reveals the gender of the baby.
Chorionic villus sampling
As with the NIPT, chorionic villus sampling or CVS tests your baby’s chromosomes to screen for Down syndrome. Rather than test the mother’s blood, however, the test is administered to a sample of the placenta. As with the NIPT, revealing the baby’s chromosomes incidentally reveals their gender.
A CVS can be conducted in the 10th to 12th week and on. Your doctor might prescribe the test if the mother is over 35 or has a family history of birth defects.
Unlike the tests previously mentioned, a CVS carries some risks. Collecting a sample of the placenta can cause bleeding or cramping, as well as an amniotic fluid leak. Due to these risks, a CVS carries a chance of causing a miscarriage or a premature delivery.
In addition to the tests listed above, at-home tests now exist that can provide increasingly accurate determinations about your baby’s gender or even Speedy Sticks pregnancy blood tests to test your hCG. While many old wives’ tales suggest other ways to tell a baby’s gender, only professional tests conducted by a professional such as our gender DNA test is recommended for accurate results.
*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.