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Pregnancy Gender Tests: Scientific or a Scam?

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A slew of new take-home kits claim to determine the sex of your baby. But do they work?

woman holding boy and girl sockies

You may have heard some of the recent controversy surrounding gender-testing tests---take-home kits that let you discover the sex of your baby in the first few weeks of pregnancy.

One product in particular caught our eye: The Pink or Blue Early Gender Test ($240). Here's how it works: You simply prick your finger and mail a sample of your blood to the lab to be studied for fetal DNA. In a matter of days, you'll find out whether you're having a boy or a girl.

Sounds simple, right? Well these gender tests are stirring up loads of controversy from angry parents who have received inaccurate results. What's more, doctors are dismissing the tests as "unscientific" especially because the FDA does not monitor them.

We asked Dr. Cara Natterson, pediatrician and author of "Your Toddler: Head to Toe," for the real scoop.

"For starters, the company doesn't claim to be part of the medical community," she says. "The website says the kits provide 95% accuracy, but they also specify that the results were conducted within an internal company survey -- that means they don't necessarily adhere to the strict standards of scientific research."

"What's more, the company lists ultrasounds as an option to be 100 percent informed, and they also offer a full refund if their test turns out to be wrong," she says.

"It sounds like the company is being as upfront as possible," says Natterson. "And while the unfortunate downside of these at-home kits is that parents can be disappointed if the test fails, the bottom line is you should really be determining the sex of your baby through your doctor who can perform an ultrasound or amniocentesis which will give you a much higher accuracy," she says.

Have you ever used one of these kits? Did it work?


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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
ame i. February 8, 2009, 3:32 PM

This company should offer accurate results or your money back! ;)
One of my sisters-in-law tried gender selection (through a medical facility)in the late 80’s and was interviewed on 20/20. Instead of the girl they were hoping for, they had a 3rd boy. His 2 older brothers tormented the little guy by pointing out their parents wanted him to be a girl that he once tried to burn their house down.
SIL and BIL adopted a girl 6 years later.

Chrissy February 8, 2009, 9:39 PM

Parents should be less concern with the gender and more concern with the healthy of their baby.
Sorry, ame i., I feel sorry for the little boy not your SIL& BIL. They should not have allowed their older sons to pick on their younger son to the extend that he tried to burn down his home (note I used HIS HOME not their house) That’s an indicatition how servere his torment at the hands of his own brothers was. I don’t think, given what you have stated, that the parents even tried to stop the torment or seek help for THEIR youngest son. Doesn’t even sound like they even attempted to reassure their own son that he was very much wanted.
And, just out of curioutesy? If the test had come back “girl” would they have abort their child?
The situation your SIL & SIL went thru was one of their own creation - stop blaming thetesting company.

mama09 February 9, 2009, 6:06 PM

Im currently 13 weeks pregnant and my husband and I want to try on of these tests. There is one brand called Intellagender that runs about 30$. It’s more of a ‘just for fun’ type thing. We are going to wait until the baby is born to see if we have a little boy or a litle girl. This test wont send me out shopping for pink or blue, it’ll just give us a little laugh.

Jill (the other one) February 13, 2009, 5:10 AM

Seriously, is it really THAT hard to wait for your 5-month ultrasound to find out your baby’s gender? I’m with Chrissy. The unborn baby’s health is the most important thing, whether it’s a girl or a boy.

Grace R Osome June 15, 2009, 6:41 AM

ATTN.Dr. Jill am 5months preganant and am a mother to three girls my husband expect me to get a baby boy how do i go about it and the same time am a very worried mom who does not know where to start since both i and my husband are jobless and we are being kicked out of our rental house. pliz assist. thank you. Grace

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Noemi April 23, 2010, 11:33 AM

i think that these test should be helpfull in a way.im 22 weeks.i went to my ulrasound but they couldnt see waht sex my baby was and i really want to know what im having so i can get everything i need before the baby is born and for the baby shower.if they dont work we should get our money back!

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Clearskin September 15, 2010, 12:05 AM

Thanks for sharing!


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