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Choosing the Sex of Your Baby

WLBT3,  Sept 28, 2010
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Some people dream of having a baby girl or a boy.

It used to be those matters were left to chance, but not anymore.

Today more people are choosing the gender of their child, a practice that's raising some eyebrows.

The Johnson house is full of testosterone, with four boys.

Four months ago the "all male" streak was broken.

Baby Ava arrived, but not by chance.

"We wanted a girl and we did what we had to do to have a daughter," says Nolana Johnson.

The Johnsons went to the only fertility clinic in Texas that offers gender selection, the Sher Institute in Dallas.

Dr. Walid Saleh could almost guarantee them a girl.

Through in vitro fertilization, egg cells are fertilized by sperm in a lab.

After three days of growth in an incubator the embryos are taken out.

They are then biopsied and at that point doctors can tell how many female and how many male embryos they have.

"Comparative Genomic Hybridization" or "CGH" tests all 23 chromosomes in the D-N-A.

Hereditary disorders, birth defects and gender can all be revealed, allowing the mother to pick which embryo or embryos to transfer back into her body.

"When they called us that morning, they said, 'You have four girls and two boys.'" Johnson recalls. "I was very excited about that."

Nolana says doctors transferred three female embryos.

Dr. Saleh says more of his patients want to select the sex of their child, now 20 percent of I-V-F cycles in his practice.

Couples pay $10-15,000.

Tom Mayo, the director of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at Southern Methodist University questions the practice.

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