Fertility and pregnancy

New blood test tells baby's sex at seven weeks

New blood test tells baby s sex at seven weeks Poses no harm to baby

Parents can now find out the sex of their baby in the seventh week of pregnancy, thanks to a new blood test.

It detects the male Y chromosome from the baby's DNA in blood samples taken from the mother, and unlike highly accurate invasive tests, such as amniocentesis, it does not pose any risk to the foetus.

The test was originally used as a research tool to help identify genetic diseases such as haemophilia.

Critics say the test opens the door for sex selection of babies.

Usually parents don't find out the sex of their baby until the 20 week mark, when women undergo an "abnormality" ultrasound scan, but only if they choose to do so. Some hospitals refuse to do divulge the sex of the unborn baby.

The test is said to be available for around £300 in some private clinics in Europe and the US, and at the Sheba Medical Centre in Israel, where it was developed.

Dr Esther Guetta, who developed the test, told the Daily Mail: "If a woman wants and can afford the test, you could say it would be unethical to prevent her from getting it."

This article was published on Tue 2 November 2010

Image © Karen Roach - Fotolia.com

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