Choosing Sex Type
Is amniocentesis a form of genetic engineering?
Is there a way to predetermine/ plan the sex of a fetus? If so what
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.
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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Update: June 2012