Nevermind waiting for that 20-week sonogram. Now expectant mothers can find out their baby’s sex in a handy, over-the-counter test as early as 10 weeks after conception.
According to a report yesterday from CNN, IntelliGender, a Plano, TX, based company has been selling the “Boy or Girl Gender Prediction Test” since 2006. “You simply collect first morning urine and insert into the test vessel,” says the company’s Web site. “Swirl rapidly in a circular motion, place the test on a flat surface undisturbed for 10 minutes. Read the test at eye level and match the color to the boy or girl color chart on the test vessel.” Ta-da! Six weeks after a missed period, and moms-to-be can start collecting tiny clothing in the correct pastel shade and picking out matching paint!
Um, not quite yet, mama. Manufacturers of the product warn not to make any large decisions based on the findings. With a 78 to 80 percent accuracy rate, the company says not to take any “emotional or financial steps” before checking with a doctor.
However, some are concerned that knowing the baby’s sex so early in the cycle could raise some problems. Critics are worried that this could lead to more gender-based abortions, a topic that has received a lot of press in the past few months since Sweden chose to allow them, and Oklahoma passed legislation making them illegal.
"Say a woman has three daughters and wants to get pregnant one last time to have a baby boy. If she takes the test at 10 weeks, and it’s not the sex she wants, she may want to terminate and try again," Jennifer Parks, co-director of Loyola University Chicago’s Programs in Health Care Ethics, told CNN.
"Not everyone in America is rabidly pro-choice, or rapidly pro-life. A lot of Americans kind of hang out right in the middle," she added. "At 10 weeks, most Americans see it as the earliest embryo, very different than a more developed fetus."
But IntelliGender co-founder Rebecca Griffin says that they take this concern very seriously, and have a policy against using the product to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term—including not selling it in countries that have a history of severe gender bias, such as India and China.
“All of our retailers have to strictly adhere to that policy,” Griffin told CNN. “If they don’t, we would pull our product immediately from their shelves.”