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Old 07-19-2005, 10:05 AM   #1
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Baby Gender Test Kit

I really hope this thread will not turn into a debate about abortion, I hope people can just discuss the idea of this test, gender "preference", and bioethical implications. If it becomes another nasty debate about abortion, I hope a mod will just delete it..

I think this test is just like so many other things in life-if used irresponsibly it is a bad idea

Newhouse News Service

Congratulations, you're pregnant! And it's a girl!

These two revelations usually come months apart. But a new blood test enables expectant mothers to find out the gender of their baby-to-be as early as five weeks into the pregnancy.

The Baby Gender Mentor test kit, which can be bought online at pregnancystore.com, includes two pregnancy tests and a kit for collecting and sending a simple finger-prick blood sample to a Massachusetts laboratory. The kit costs $25, and the lab charges $250 for processing and e-mails the confidential results within 48 hours.

Because embryonic DNA is present in maternal blood, the sample is tested for the presence of the Y chromosome, which indicates a male. If there is no Y chromosome, the embryo is female. The test does not need federal Food and Drug Administration approval because it is not used as a diagnostic tool.

Some see this kind of early gender identification as a simple, harmless way to find out what color to paint the nursery almost four months before conventional tests, such as amniocentesis or ultrasound, reveal a baby's sex.

However, bioethicists question whether the new technology will be used as a tool for sex selection, prompting a woman to abort her fetus if she doesn't approve of its gender.

While surveys of Americans show no general gender preference, some cultures prize boys far above girls. That preference is fueling trends in India and China, for example, in which the number of boys born each year outstrips girls far beyond the natural ratio of about 105 boys to every 100 girls. Those governments have tried to crack down on ultrasound labs that specialize in sex determination.

At present, the Baby Gender Mentor test, which is processed by Acu-Gen Biolab in Lowell, Mass., is available only in the United States. A Canadian company, Paragon Genetics, offers a similar test for $390, but it cannot be conducted until 10 weeks into the pregnancy, and it takes 10 business days to process, according to the company's Web site (www.paragondna.com).

Arthur Caplan, chairman of the department of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said he doubted the new test would be used widely in the United States. But the ability to find out gender so quickly is troubling, he said.

"If you sell the test in India, China or the Philippines, that's a problem. `Five weeks out' shifts the moral equation for some people. Ending a pregnancy is easier to do than at 20 weeks," Caplan said. He also questioned the lack of counseling for those who want to find out the baby's gender.

Caplan said the test is just the beginning in using DNA testing to gain information about embryos.

"It's the cutting edge of what's coming," he said. "What if you find out if the baby will have a high risk of depression, or obesity, or will have red hair? What about a disposition to homosexuality? If it's not to detect a disease, you shouldn't be doing it."

But Kimberly Mutcherson, an assistant professor at Rutgers Law School in Camden, N.J., said people should be able to use the information any way they want.

"People make sex selection decisions for many reasons -- to balance their family, or to check for gender-related disease. If you believe women have the right to choose, those are perfectly legitimate reasons," said Mutcherson, who teaches a class called "Bioethics, Babies and Babymaking."

Sherry Bonelli, president of Mommy's Thinkin', which sells the Baby Gender Mentor test, dismissed the possibility of misuse in the United States.

"Within other countries with preferences for boys vs. girls, that might be a concern, but I firmly believe it's not an issue in the U.S.," she said.

The test, based on newly patented technology, is so reliable, Bonelli said, that the company offers a double-money-back guarantee.

The company's scientific director, C.N. Wang, told the Boston Globe the gender test is designed to showcase the power of an innovative DNA technique that can acquire definitive results from a drop of dried blood. Wang said the company is not ready to publish data on the technique and its accuracy, the Globe reported.

Since the test debuted on the "Today" show in mid-June, Bonelli said, more than 2,000 kits have been sold.

Carrie Dilgaro of Bridgewater, N.J., said she would have welcomed the knowledge of gender as early as possible in her pregnancy so she could have started decorating the nursery and buying baby clothes.

"I found out at 20 weeks, and I was biting at the bit already," she said. Dilgaro gave birth June 18 to a daughter, Mackenzie Hart Dilgaro.

Claudia Pascale, a psychologist who offers support services at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., cautioned that such knowledge, while desired, could prove traumatic if the pregnancy ended in miscarriage, which most often occurs during the first three months.

"In some ways this shows us how soon the whole fantasy life starts in terms of having children," she said. "If you're refining that at five weeks, picking the paint colors, you are kind of going well beyond where you actually are, and there are some dangers there."

July 11, 2005
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Old 07-19-2005, 10:16 AM   #2
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Re: Baby Gender Test Kit

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen

I think this test is just like so many other things in life-if used irresponsibly it is a bad idea
I agree with you.
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Old 07-19-2005, 10:29 AM   #3
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Ditto.
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Old 07-19-2005, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Baby Gender Test Kit

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
The test, based on newly patented technology, is so reliable, Bonelli said, that the company offers a double-money-back guarantee.
i smell a lawsuit...

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Old 07-19-2005, 08:56 PM   #5
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A good idea; I don't think that we will ever get to a point where such things are superceeding natural selection in determining the ratio of sexes. In fact I think that it would even out; when there are more girls than boys then a parent would choose a boy over a girl due to a higher reproductive sucess rate, and if it were reversed then a girl for the same reason.
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:00 PM   #6
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I work in a lab and we have an automated sequencer, so if anyone's interested I could give you a discount...

Seriously though, bad idea.
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Old 07-19-2005, 10:40 PM   #7
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Some people seem to be determined to rid society of all spontaneity.
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Old 07-20-2005, 02:52 AM   #8
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They should develop tests that tell you if the child will be born with any problems.

There is another thread idea...if you were to be pregnant and you found out your child has Downs or Spina Bifida, and you had the chance to terminate the pregnancy, would you?
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:51 AM   #9
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There's a free and much easier way to do this, using once again, the unexplainable brilliance of the Chinese. Has anyone ever seen those calendar predictor things? I've never known it to be wrong on all my friends who tested it. I'll know the accuracy again in a few weeks
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:07 AM   #10
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What? How?
Having intercourse on certain days will guarantee you a girl?
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:20 AM   #11
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Well, no. I dont think so. The most basic version of it goes by conception month and the age of the mother at time of conception, rather than calculating on particular days which is scientifically tricky to pinpoint as dates can be inaccurate and even with advanced science, fetal age is a part guess.

I'll have a quick scoot around and post some links if you're interested! Double check with anyone you know, if you know your mum's age at conception etc, it's pretty interesting!
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Old 07-20-2005, 05:59 AM   #12
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i dont think it will be used irresponsibly, and i think that the costs of doing something in a country where one sex is held in highest esteem will be too much. Do you know how much an average family earsn in india? I highly doubt the woman will pop down to the local clinic for a teat

And xtal, if i found out at five weeks my baby had an extremely diabilitating disease the yes i would have an abortion. Not out of pure selfishness, but really, a person who cannot eat, talk, go to the toilet and only has a life expectancy of about 20 years or such (like many diseases) does not have 'quality' of life.

But i do think that if ppl get preg and then abort because its the wrong sex, well thats pretty pathetic. I mean theres only 2 sexes, and they both rock! hahaha
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Old 07-20-2005, 07:32 AM   #13
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Back in the day when the Chinese government promoted female infanticide, they would have loved to have had this technology.
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Old 07-20-2005, 08:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by dazzlingamy
I mean theres only 2 sexes, and they both rock! hahaha
That's true, but some people prefer one over another. I do believe most people just want a healthy baby though.

It opens up a can of worms, this test. You still have time after all to paint a nursery w/ a sonogram, don't you?


That's interesting Angela, if you can post more info
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by xtal
They should develop tests that tell you if the child will be born with any problems.

There is another thread idea...if you were to be pregnant and you found out your child has Downs or Spina Bifida, and you had the chance to terminate the pregnancy, would you?
Genetic tests already exist for these things and are usually administered to high risk pregnant women.
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