The days of wondering whether a child will be a boy or a girl could be numbered. According to a recent article, a simple blood test called cell-free fetal DNA can determine the gender of a baby just 7 weeks into a pregnancy. Which is much faster than amniocentesis – which can be given at about 16 weeks, or an ultrasound, which can be used a couple of weeks later.
Unfortunately, knowing whether a baby is a boy or a girl has implications beyond medical tests, and whether to paint the nursery pink or blue. Dr. Mary Rosser is an obstetrician at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York. And she worries that knowing a baby’s gender that early might tempt parents to terminate the pregnancy if the baby’s not the sex they want. The test has been used in Europe for several years – and is about to become widely used in Canada, but because of the ethical implications, it may be some time before it’s available to parents in the U.S.