Back in February last year, a debate about choosing your baby’s gender was sparked by Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend revealing that they choose for their baby, Luna, to be born a girl. Understandably, this led many parents-to-be to question how this was possible and if they could do the same.
 
To answer the question: yes, choosing your baby’s gender is now possible due to the introduction of Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). However, this only becomes an option to couples under certain circumstances. The gender selection procedure only becomes available to couples who want to avoid passing sex-linked genetic disorders onto their children, such as Haemophilia in males and Rett Syndrome in females. 
 
However, in some circumstances, it becomes available to parents who would also like to ‘balance’ their family by having a child of each gender. Hormone tests are also run to check the client’s fertility and age limits are sometimes implemented. Some clinics will not consider clients unless they are married or already have at least one child of the opposite sex they’re trying for.

Methods of Gender Selection


The most accurate methods of choosing your baby’s gender can be very expensive and typically mean the mother-to-be has to undergo invasive infertility treatments, alongside taking fertility drugs with potential side effects. 

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one of the main procedures which allows gender selection. IVF is a method of fertilization outside of the womb, starting with a round of fertility drugs which help your ovaries create more than the natural amount of eggs (typically one per month). In an IVF procedure, the patient is placed under anesthetic before the doctor inserts an ultra sound probe through the vagina to check the ovaries and follicles. A thin needle is then inserted through the vagina wall to remove the eggs from the follicles.

The next step is for the extracted eggs to be fertilized in a Petri dish. Once the eggs become embryos after 3-5 days, they are inserted back into the patient’s uterus. If you’re younger than 35 and your embryos are healthy, no more than two are usually transferred.

 

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Preimplantation Genetic Screening


The baby gender selection process happens during the IVF procedure, where one or two cells are removed from the embryo and tested for genetic or chromosomal disorders. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) can be used to screen the embryos and predict the baby’s gender. Parents who are hoping to avoid gender-linked disorders usually opt for PGD as the test exposes any underlying conditions the baby may have. By changing the gender of the baby, the prospective parents hope to avoid this disorder. 
 
Preimplantation Genetic Screening is typically used by patients to check if their baby has down syndrome, or are hoping to ‘balance’ their family. Both tests are almost 100% accurate at determining the gender of the baby, and any remaining embryos are frozen so they can be used in the future if the couple decides to make more children.
 
The advancement of science truly is something to marvel at, but as these methods can be expensive and invasive, waiting to find out the gender of your child can be just as exciting. Wondering what your baby will be is one of the most magical parts of carrying a child and the long awaited day of the gender reveal is a milestone in the pregnancy. Here at First Encounters, we offer gender scans from just 16 weeks, so you don’t have to wait too long either. 

The earlyAssure™ option is a scan package we offer to parents who may be worried about the pregnancy as it can identify potential issues with the baby from as early as 8 weeks. Click here to find out more information and book your earlyAssure™ scan.
Baby Gender
 
Expectant parents are often very keen to discover the gender of their unborn baby, and understandably so - knowing the gender is one of those things that really helps you to feel closer to your little bundle of joy. The people who come to our clinics for gender scans frequently tell us that the baby seems a lot more 'real' to them once our sonographer has revealed whether it's a boy or a girl, and besides, finding out the sex is a nice little milestone to get excited for when the birth itself still seems a long way off.
 
With all of that in mind, it's easy to see why mums-to-be and dads-in-waiting might want to attend a gender scan as soon as possible. But attend a gender scan too early in your pregnancy, and it may be impossible to accurately identify the gender - a foetus doesn't develop sexual characteristics until a few weeks in, and nothing conclusive will actually be visible on an ultrasound scan until a little while after that.

What's the earliest I can have a gender scan?

Here at First Encounters Ultrasound we don't offer any gender confirmation scans before 16 weeks gestation. Other scan providers may offer slightly earlier scans, but we would strongly recommend that you do not attend a baby gender scan until at least the 16-week mark. Any earlier, and your baby probably won't have developed sufficiently for accurate gender identification.

Is it worth waiting a little longer?

While we're happy to provide gender scans from 16 weeks onwards, it's worth bearing in mind that not all babies develop at the same speed. Very occasionally, someone will come in for gender confirmation at 16 weeks and the sonographer still won't be able to find positive visual confirmation of the baby's sex. In these cases, we'll usually offer a complimentary re-scan at a later date (we'll never guess the gender if we're not confident in our prediction!) but to avoid disappointment, you may wish to wait an extra few days just to make sure that your baby has developed to the point where we're able to identify the gender.
 
 

If you decide to learn your baby’s gender before the birth, as many expectant parents do, it can be a fantastic excuse to celebrate your good news with all your friends and family! Increasingly, we are seeing that customers who come for our gender reveal scans are thinking up new and interesting ways of sharing the news with their family, which go further than the traditional announcement.

Hosting a gender reveal party can be a fun and creative way to share your big news with your loved ones, and will allow you to create a lasting and memorable experience for all those who go on to be a part of your child’s life.

To help you plan the perfect gender reveal party, here are a few ideas to help make it a success:

Colour Code Your Décor to Add to the Mystery

From cakes and drinks to balloons and banners, cover your chosen venue with a selection of pink and blue accessories to keep them guessing up until the big reveal! 

Hand out Gender Reveal Cards

While there are lots of creative ways to announce your news, we love these interactive and exciting gender reveal cards! Not only do they allow each individual to find out the gender for themselves, but they also add an element of eagerness and anticipation to the process as they scratch to reveal the gender. Get all your guests together and hand them out one by one, to ensure that everyone scratches at the same time!

Plan Your Party in Accordance With Your Scan, and Give People Plenty of Notice!

It’s important to give your guests plenty of notice in advance of the party, so that you can ensure that all the loved-ones are able to make it. You should also time this reveal correctly in relation to your gender scan, and ensure that you have confirmation of your appointment before rushing in to planning the reveal. On very rare occasions, the position of your baby may cause difficulties with establishing a confident gender confirmation, and in such cases we offer our customers a free rescan on an alternative date. Although it is very rare that we are unable to establish your baby’s gender during your initial scan, it is worth keeping this possibility (however unlikely) in mind when planning your reveal.

Award Prizes to Guests Who Guess Right

While it’s only natural that your friends and family will be speculating about the gender of your little one before you reveal the news, the occasion will be even more entertaining if you add a competitive and speculative exercise for them to participate in. Ask everyone to note their predictions before the reveal, then hand out little keepsakes or prizes to those who guess right. If you don’t want to fork out for multiple prizes, then why not have each guest pop their name into either a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ hat, after which a name will be pulled out at random from the one labelled with the correct gender to reveal the winner!

Make Sweet, Personalised Items for Loved Ones Post-Reveal

To give your nearest and dearest something to remember the day by, why not hand out personalised clothing items or keepsakes with the addition of the baby’s gender on them. For example, parents who already have a child/children could gift their soon-to-be siblings with an item that reads ‘I’m going to have a little brother/sister’, or something similar. This is particularly good for younger children, as it allows them to be more involved in the process without feeling like they are being pushed aside, or are missing out due to all the attention surrounding the new baby.

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To see more of our scan souvenirs, click here.


First Encounters Ultrasound Bristol

If you're located in Bristol or the surrounding area and you're looking for the best gender scan experience available, look no further than the First Encounters clinic in Bristol. Our state-of-the-art facility allows you to discover your baby's gender in a spacious, relaxed environment, providing room for up to six guests who may want to share this special experience with you.

There are a variety of gender scan options available at our Bristol clinic - here's a quick run-down:

pureGender™

This gender scan is available from 18 weeks, allowing you to view live 2D footage in our comfortable surroundings with up to six guests. The sonographer will also perform a visual heartbeat and movement check, and will produce two black and white photographs to serve as souvenirs the experience. 

genderAssure™

This package allows you to discover the gender of your baby from 16 weeks, combined with the growth and wellbeing checks of the reAssure scan. As well as capturing 2D images of your baby, we will also endeavour to offer a 4D Glimpse of your baby.

genderAssurePlus™

This package provides you with all the services offered in the genderAssure™ scan (see above), with the addition of DVD footage and a bespoke First Encounters Heartbeat Bear

4DgenderAssure™

This scan package allows you to discover the sex of your baby from 20 weeks, and is combined with the benefits of the reAssure™ and Taster4D packages for the ultimate gender scan experience. 

To find out more about the range of scans on offer at our Bristol clinic, please click here. Alternatively, feel free to contact us for more information.
Baby Gender
photo by Vibora 123 (view original here)
As you're probably aware, we offer a variety of different baby gender scans here at First Encounters Ultrasound.
 
Countless parents have visited our clinics in the hope of discovering their unborn baby's sex - some do it so that they can decide on an appropriate name, while others ask to learn the gender in advance because they simply can't wait for the birth!
 
If you're thinking of getting a gender scan, you may well be wondering how accurate these scans are, and how sure the sonographer will be when he or she reveals the gender of your unborn child. In other words...
 

How accurate are baby gender scans?

The answer is 'very accurate indeed', at least as far as we're concerned! Our sonographers are extremely well-trained and generally won't state the sex of the baby unless they're absolutely certain of what they're saying.
 
To allow for accurate gender confirmation, the baby's sex organs must be a) reasonably fully-formed, and b) visible on the ultrasound scan. Our baby gender scans are available from 16 weeks onwards; we cannot confirm gender before this point for the simple reason that, generally speaking, genitalia are not visibly formed until around the 16-week mark.
 
Once you've reached 16 weeks gestation, our ability to predict your child's gender depends on their position inside the womb. Every so often, an expectant mother will come in for a gender scan only to find that her little one is resting in a position that makes it difficult for us to get an accurate idea of their sex. On these occasions, we ask the mother to take a brief stroll so as to get the foetus moving; we will then re-commence the scan, hopefully with more success.
 

What if we're unable to confirm your baby's gender?

It's a very rare occurrence, but if we can't tell what sex your baby is even after you've been for a walk, we will happily offer you one complimentary re-scan on a date that suits you. As previously mentioned, we will NEVER 'just guess' your baby's sex; if your gender scan proves inconclusive, you will be told as much by your sonographer. We have a reputation to uphold here at First Encounters Ultrasound, and so we will only ever tell you what we see on the scan - nothing more, nothing less.
 
Any other questions? Get in touch with a member of the First Encounters Ultrasound team today!