Boy or Girl?

Blood tests can accurately determine a fetus’s gender as early as 7 weeks.

Aug 11, 2011
Cristina Luiggi

STOCK.XCHNG, MILAN6

Tests that analyze fetal DNA in the mother’s blood can be used to reliably determine the fetus’s gender as early as 7 weeks after gestation—many weeks earlier than other tests. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, if performed correctly, these cell-free fetal DNA tests can determine sex with 95 percent accuracy.

But while such tests could be very useful for parents whose offspring are at risk for rare gender-linked disorders such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, they run the risk of being used for more controversial purposes, such as gender selecting the New York Times reports. Currently, the tests are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, deterring many doctors from prescribing them in the United States, although in Europe they’re routinely used on people with high risk of gender-linked diseases.