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Question:
Is amniocentesis a form of genetic engineering? Is there a way to predetermine/ plan the sex of a fetus? If so what



Replies:
Amniocnetesis is a procedure to test the genetics of a child. It will determine the sex, but it changes nothing of the developing fetus.


Choosing the sex of the fetus is statistically possible. Several techniques are possible, but I'm not sure which ones are actually used. There is one procedure of using a dye to show the X and Y sperms and separating them prior to artificial insemination of the female. Timing of intercourse can also improve the chances of one sex over the other, for it has been determines that Y sperms travel faster on the average than X sperms, but do not live as long.

Steve Sample


Amniocentesis is simply a method for getting a sample of fetal cells for testing. It does not involve changing the genetic material of the fetus in any way, so it is not a form of genetic engineering.

The only way it can be used to affect the gender of the fetus is to determine the sex of the fetus by testing the cells obtained by amniocentesis, and then aborting the fetus if it is the undesired gender. Most religious groups and medical ethicists oppose such a practice.

Richard Barrans Jr., Ph.D.


Amniocentesis is a traditional prenatal screening procedure where they take a long needle and stick it through the wall of the abdomen (under anesthesia) and into the womb. Babies shed cells just like we do and they accumulate in the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus. A karyotype is done, which is a picture of the chromosomes arranged in pairs and they look to see if any chromosomal damage is there. They can also tell the sex of the child. There is a lot of research being done to see if sex selection can be an option. I do know that they can separate sperm by X and Y because the Y is so much smaller than the X it is less dense and doesn't settle out as fast in a test tube. If a couple wants a boy they take the sperm from the top of the tube and if they want a girl they take it from the bottom. This is not foolproof though, it only increases the chances of getting the sex you want.

K. Van hoeck



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