SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Did you know parents can choose the sex of their child and it’s perfectly legal in Utah?
It’s called “family balancing” and is designed to help parents take control of the kind of family they want.
Doctor Keith L. Blauer, who works at the Reproductive Care Center in Sandy, has performed about 3,000 of these procedures and says his process has never produced the wrong sex. “I think it is amazing technology,” he said.
Dr. Blauer calls the procedure "in vitro fertilization preimplantation genetic screening". The process involves combining egg and sperm cells outside the womb, letting them develop into 100 cells over a four or five day period and then removing one of the embryo’s cells to determine if its DNA is male or female.
Next, parents choose to implant the embryo, into the mother’s womb, that will only develop into either a boy or a girl.
“I think that’s kind of interesting, that’s pretty cool. I’d never even heard of anything like that,” said Sandy mother Mandy Evans.
The procedure is more than 99 percent accurate and according to Dr. Blauer and has a proven safety record for both child and mother.
Parents who talked with ABC 4 support the technology. “I think if people want to, and they have the technology, then they should be able to do it,” said Sandy mother Maria Jackson.
Reproductive centers can also test whether your embryos will develop into a child with a genetic disorder.
“There are hundreds of genetic disorders that can now be screened for using preimplantation, genetic diagnosis-- cystic fibrosis, hemophilia are some of the more common ones done herein our clinic,” said Dr. Blauer. “Take a 42-year-old who has a high risk for chromizonally abnormal children and decrease their risk is nothing short, of some people would call it, a miracle. We call it modern science.”
“That something more that I think I would be interested in,” said Evans.
This science continues to advance each year, giving parents more control over the kind of family they want.
Despite bans on this procedure in Canada, Europe and Australia— it’s perfectly legal and accepted in Utah.
ABC 4 left messages with a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to ask if it has a stance on this issue. The Church did not respond before this article was posted, but so far the Church has not openly come out in opposition to this practice.
The procedure to determine the sex of a child or to test for genetic disorders will set parents back between $15,000 and $18,000.