By Margarita Nahapetyan
Future moms-to-be do not have to wait anymore till 18-20 weeks into their pregnancy in order to determine the gender of their unborn baby. Now, the first home gender test to hit the U.S. market, called "Boy or Girl Gender Prediction Test," created by IntelliGender company, says its over-the-counter test can predict the sex of a 10-week-old fetus in 10 minutes.
According to IntelliGender, the scientists isolated certain hormones which, when combined with a "proprietary mix of chemicals," react in a different way if a woman is carrying a boy or a girl. The test, which determines the gender of the fetus just six weeks after the first missed period, is based on a morning urine sample from the pregnant woman. When filled with urine, the test vessel turns orange if the baby is a girl, or becomes green if the baby is a boy. The company web site states that the product is 82 to 90 per cent accurate in its prediction.
When a mother or a father can visualize in advance the gender of their baby and confirm they have that tiny human being inside of them, it suddenly becomes real to them, said Jennifer Parks, co-director of Loyola University Chicago's Programs in Health Care Ethics. Parents are more likely to feel a stronger bond with their unborn child, she said. So, it is not surprising at all that they would want this test.
When asked about predicting the sex of twin babies, the IntelliGender said that in case the babies appear to be fraternal twins, typically, study results show that if the test indicates "girl," then you can assume the babies are all girls. And in case the test results indicate boy, it can be assumed that at least one of the babies is a boy, the company explained.
CVS and Walgreens stores in the United States started to sell the IntelliGender test nationwide last month for $34.95. More than 50,000 of the tests have been sold all across the country since it became available online in 2006, said Rebecca Griffin, co-founder of IntelliGender in Plano, Texas.
However, the tests will not be marketed in India and China, where an overriding preference for baby boys could influence a rash of terminated pregnancies for women who will find themselves carrying baby girls. In the United States, the company warns on their website not to rush painting a room gender-specific color or buying a wardrobe for a baby until the results are confirmed by a doctor.
Anti-abortion advocates are concerned about this new test, saying that these home gender tests carry a hidden danger, which may lead some parents to go for an abortion if they are not expecting the desired gender. The makers of the gender prediction test say, in turn, that they "categorically disagree" with the idea their test may prompt an increase in sex-selection abortions."I cannot even fathom someone making a decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy based on a test informing them they may have a boy or a girl," Griffin said. IntelliGender says that out of "hundreds of thousands" of e-mail inquiries that have been sent to them, only 2 have asked about using the test as a possible option for sex-selection.