Pregnant with girl or boy? At-home test may tell you

IntelliGender makes a gender prediction test. If a urine specimen turns orange, it's a girl. Green is for boys.
Expecting moms can determine whether they’re carrying a boy or a girl as early as 10 weeks after conception, according to an over-the-counter gender prediction test by a Plano, Texas, company.

IntelliGender, the creator of the “Boy or Girl Gender Prediction Test,” say scientists isolated certain hormones that when combined with a “proprietary mix of chemicals” react differently if a women is carrying a boy or a girl. It claims that within 10 minutes of taking the urine test, a mother will be able to tell her baby’s gender. The specimen will turn green if it’s a boy, and orange if it’s a girl. IntelliGender would not say what hormones or chemicals it uses it in its test because of a pending patent. “Most parents have a great degree of curiosity to find out if they’re having a boy or a girl, and it can be so excruciating to wait until the 20-week sonogram to find out,” IntelliGender co-founder Rebecca Griffin said. “But the test was never meant to be a diagnostic tool. We don’t claim 100 percent accuracy.” In fact, the company’s Web site specifically says to not “paint the room pink or blue” until an expectant mom confirms results with her doctor. “We specifically state to all our consumers that they shouldn’t make any emotional or financial steps until the results are confirmed via sonogram,” the company says. The gender predictor test boasts a 78 to 80 percent accuracy rate, according to the latest IntelliGender report.

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Health topics: Pregnancy and fertility

So why are soon-to-be parent be so eager to find out whether their ‘Sammy’ is really a ‘Suzy’ a few months early “When a parent can visualize the sex of their baby and confirm they have that little person inside of them, it suddenly becomes real to them,” said Jennifer Parks, co-director of Loyola University Chicago’s Programs in Health Care Ethics. “They often feel a stronger connection. So, it’s not surprising parents would want this test.” But some say the issue gets dicey when a parent makes a decisions about whether to carry on with the pregnancy after the results are revealed. “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,” Parks said. “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.” The makers of the gender prediction test say it “categorically disagree” with the idea their test may prompt an increase in sex-selection abortions. “I can’t even fathom someone making a decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy based on a test informing them they may have a boy or a girl,” Griffin said. IntelliGender says out of “hundreds of thousands” of e-mail inquiries, only two have inquired about using the test as a vehicle for sex-selection. Pro-life groups, already concerned about women opting to keep babies based on hair and eye color, are now worried about gender-selection, too. “There’s a problem that’s very prevalent in some countries where boy babies are greatly preferred for cultural reasons and aborting girl babies is very common,” said Anthony Lauinger, vice president of National Right to Life. “And we’re starting to see higher incidence of aborting girls among ethnic groups who have migrated to the U.S.” While the test is available for sale in 11 countries, IntelliGender does not sell the test to India or China. “All of our retailers have to strictly adhere to that policy. If they don’t, we would pull our product immediately from their shelves,” Griffin said. Since 2006, more than 50,000 tests have sold online in the United States. Last month, U.S. drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens, began selling the gender predictor test for $34.95.