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Q: donor insemination ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: donor insemination
Category: Health > Children
Asked by: cadrake43-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 17 Sep 2006 03:47 PDT
Expires: 17 Oct 2006 03:47 PDT
Question ID: 766023
In a scenario where a woman is artificially inseminated with donor
sperm, what are the chances of a resulting child being male?
Subject: Re: donor insemination
Answered By: andrewxmp-ga on 17 Sep 2006 07:51 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Cardrake,

The short answer to your question is: if the doctors performing the
procedure do nothing extra, then the chances remain 50% for having
either a boy or girl, as in an unassisted pregnancy.  However, if a
parent is undergoing an in-vitro fertilization procedure, there are
common ways to artificially influence the sex of the baby.

    In traditional genetics, there is approximately a 50/50 chance of
conceiving a boy or a girl, as we are all familiar with.  Whenever
artificial insemination is occurring, however, the actual joining of
the sperm and egg is occurring outside the body, and very little is
left to chance.  An outline of In-Vitro Fertilization [IVF] can be
found here:


The identity of the sperm, if it carries an X or Y chromosome, is
actually what determines the sex of the child.  As approximately half
of the sperm will carry either an X or a Y, the donated sperm can be
"sorted" with moderate accuracy to see which chromosome it carries. 
Different techniques offer different rates of success, but most range
from 60% to 90% accuracy.  This technique is generally referred to as
sperm sorting.
      Another technique is called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis
(PGD).  After a number of healthy embryos have been created, some
number are implanted in the mother's uterus.  Before they are
implanted, however, some screening tests can be done to see if they
will develop into a boy or girl.  With that information, the doctor
and parent(s) can choose which embryos to implant; in other words,
choose the sex of their baby.  This methodology is far more expensive,
but offers nearly 100% accuracy, because the developing embryo itself
is examined to see what chromosomes it contains.  More can be read
about PGD here:

There is one major caveats to this process, however.  Some groups and
people believe that embryonic sex-selection is comparable to
sex-discrimination and raise other ethical questions about the
process.  Canada, Australia, and many European countries have banned
sex-selection for any non-medical reasons.  It can still be used in
cases such as decreasing the chances of having a child with a
sex-linked disease.

I believe this should have answered your question about artificial
insemination.  Please do not hesitate to request a question
clarification if necessary, especially before rating this answer. 
Thank you for bringing your question to Google Answers!


Request for Answer Clarification by cadrake43-ga on 17 Sep 2006 08:00 PDT
What about using frozen donor sperm? I thought I read somewhere that
the chances of having a boy closer to 80%.

Clarification of Answer by andrewxmp-ga on 17 Sep 2006 09:46 PDT
Hi again,

After doing quite a bit of scouring, I could not find any information
that supports or suggests the idea that frozen sperm samples will more
often result in a boy.  The only case in which this would be possible
is if, for some reason, freezing selectively kills or degrades only
the X-chromosome-containing sperm, but this seems unlikely and, again,
I could find no evidence supporting it.
Also, because any sperm sorting or PGD procedure would more likely
result in the desired sex regardless of the condition of the sample,
because they actively separate the cells rather than just using all of
the original sample.

You may have heard somewhere the figure of 80%, and somehow confused
it with some other rate.  Currently, sperm-sorting techniques will
result in a male between 70 and 90 percent of the time, if a male is
desired.  Since this figure is related and right around 80%, perhaps
this is the number you heard?

I hope this has cleared things up.  Again, there are many many sources
describing the use of frozen sperm samples, but I did not find
anything indicating any unintended bias in the sex that results from
using these samples.  So, it seems reasonable to conclude that this is
not the case.

Please let me know if you require any further information.
cadrake43-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Not the answer I was hoping for, but extremely thorough and prompt.  Many thanks!

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