Is it a boy or a girl? That is something that many expectant parents want to know before the arrival of their little one(s). Knowing the answer can mean being able to know how to decorate the nursery, have gender-appropriate baby shower gifts and more. It is this ability to prepare for the baby that makes ultrasound gender prediction, typically around week 20 of pregnancy, rather popular. However, are those ultrasound results really correct? CNN recently tackled that issue. In a recent article, it reported that gender prediction by ultrasound is not always correct. In fact, incorrect identification of a baby’s gender happens quite a bit more frequently than many people realize. How often are the results of this procedure wrong?
In the article, CNN says that even with a skilled person conducting the ultrasound, correct identification falls into the 90-95 percent range. That means an error rate of 5-10 percent. There are many factors that go into identifying gender via ultrasound. The level of skill of the person performing it is, of course, a factor. However, that is not all. Also factoring into whether gender is correctly identified are the position of the baby, abdominal scars, size of the uterus, testicles that have not yet descended and more. More accurate are cell-free fetal DNA tests. These tests have become more popular in recent years since they can screen for genetic disorders such as Downs Syndrome. They are done by a simple blood draw and are generally used for women whose pregnancies fall into the category of being high-risk. With a cell-free fetal DNA test, the percentage of correct gender identification does improve. The right identification is delivered 95 percent of the time. However, even it is not perfect. Delivering greater certainty is Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) combined with having amniocentesis done. With these things done, one can expect a result that has 99.9 percent certainty. Of course, while far more precise, the CVS and amniocentesis route is not a simple one. It is far more invasive for the expectant mother than are ultrasound or a blood draw. For more about this issue, see the full article on CNN.
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Most of us are familiar with bone marrow and blood donations. Cord blood donations are along the same lines as these when it comes to their use. The blood found in the umbilical cord and placenta shortly after childbirth contains stem cells that are useful for treating many diseases, as the cells are able to grow into healthy blood cells and immune system cells, among others.