A baby’s gender is determined by their sex chromosomes. Typically, females carry XX sex chromosomes whereas males carry XY sex chromosomes. Parents can choose to wait until birth to find out the sex of their baby or may want to find out during their pregnancy to help them plan and prepare.
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How is a baby’s gender determined?
An individual’s DNA is made up of 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 chromosomes in total) with one copy of each chromosome inherited from each biological parent – including one pair of sex chromosomes: females carry XX sex chromosomes, whereas males carry XY sex chromosomes.
Egg and sperm cells are reproductive cells, known as gametes, that each contain half of an individual’s DNA (23 chromosomes in total). Babies are created when a sperm cell (containing 50% of the biological father’s DNA) fertilizes an egg (containing 50% of the biological mother’s DNA) to create an embryo with a full complement of DNA.
A baby’s biological gender is determined by the sex chromosomes they inherit. As females carry XX sex chromosomes, all of their gametes (egg cells) will contain one X sex chromosome. As males carry XY sex chromosomes, 50% of their gametes (sperm cells) will contain an X sex chromosome and the other 50% will contain a Y sex chromosome. Fertilization occurs when a male and female gamete join together. If a sperm with an X sex chromosome fertilizes the egg cell containing an X chromosome, the baby will be female (XX). If a sperm with an Y sex chromosome fertilizes the egg cell containing an X chromosome, the baby will be male (XY).
Which parent determines the sex of a baby?
As females carry XX sex chromosomes, all of their egg cells will contain an X sex chromosome. Because males carry XY sex chromosomes, 50% of their sperm cells will contain an X sex chromosome and the other 50% will contain a Y sex chromosome.
If a sperm with an X sex chromosome fertilizes the egg cell containing an X chromosome, the baby will be female (XX). If a sperm with an Y sex chromosome fertilizes the egg cell containing an X chromosome, the baby will be male (XY) and therefore it is the father’s sperm cell that determines the gender of the baby.
What sex do babies start as?
The gender of a baby is determined by the egg and sperm cells (and the sex chromosomes that they carry) that join together to create an embryo – so a baby’s gender is determined from conception.
All babies start to develop in the same way and it is difficult to visibly distinguish between male and female fetuses before week 6. As the baby grows though, male- or female-specific traits begin to develop to allow differentiation.
How can you find out the sex of a baby?
If you don’t want to wait until birth to determine the gender of their baby, there are some options available which can determine the sex of a baby during pregnancy.
Traditionally, ultrasound scans are used from the sixteenth week of pregnancy to determine the gender of a baby. Ultrasound sonographers carry out a visual check of the baby to check their well-being and can look at the baby’s genitals to determine whether the baby is male or female.
As ultrasounds are a visual check rather than a genetic test, there is a small risk that sonographers can incorrectly predict the baby’s gender. Generally, the later in pregnancy an ultrasound is carried out, the more likely the results are to be accurate.
Ultrasound scans are particularly beneficial when carrying non-identical twins or multiples; genetic tests screen for the presence of the male-specific Y chromosome to indicate the baby is male so these tests can determine that at least one of the babies is male or that all babies are female but cannot determine the sex of each baby individually.
An early baby gender DNA test can be carried out from as early as 7 weeks into a pregnancy and will produce highly accurate results. Using a non-invasive blood sample from the expectant mother, specialist tests are able to detect cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from the baby that is circulating within the mother’s blood stream. E; examination of this DNA can determine whether the baby is male or female by examining their sex chromosomes.
Where can I get an early baby gender test?
Obtaining one of our baby gender tests could not be easier.
You will then receive your baby gender results via email in 7 business days for $179.