Tweaking IVF can influence baby's sex

Melbourne, Sep 29 (ANI): Tweaking In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) has a remarkable effect on male-female birth ratios, revealed a new Australian study.

Trends have been reported before, but often the statistics have been drawn by just looking at individual clinics.

But a new study from the University of New South Wales, has examined data on almost 13,400 babies born using single embryo transfer in Australia and New Zealand between 2002 and 2006.

For some assisted reproductive technologies (ART) boys accounted for 56 percent of live births, while for other techniques 48 percent of the babies were boys.

The report's author, PhD candidate Jishan Dean, said that while the probability of having a boy varied depending on the type of ART used, there was no imbalance overall.

"For each year, the sex ratio at birth is actually no different from whatever the general rates in Australia [are]," ABC Science quoted her as saying.

"But, if in the future for example most people want to have an ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), cleverly staged embryo transfer, that may cause the problem, because that particular procedure would have less boys.

"On the other hand if IVF blastocysts become the dominant type of treatment that will create more boys," she added.

Dean said she believes the diagnosis of the different treatments will even out over time.

She also warns people not to choose one type of treatment over the other depending on whether they want a boy or girl.

"I'm worried about that they are using this in the wrong way, because this research only gives you a probability and is not really giving you any guarantees," she said.

Despite a ban on deliberate sex selection, the study's co-author, Professor Michael Chapman, who is also a senior specialist with IVF Australia, said the new research may lead to sex selection tools

"That opens up the whole debate about social sex selection - which then I think NHMRC are about to review their current ethical guideline which says that it's banned in Australia," he said.

The study has been published in the journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. (ANI)

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