File ultrasound image of a foetus in the second trimester of pregnancy. The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

Simple blood test could identify foetal gender in early stages of pregnancy: study

New research claims that gender could be predicted within the first trimester.

A SIMPLE NON-INVASIVE blood test could help predict the gender of a foetus, according to a new study quoted in the Irish Medical News.

Sandra Ryan reports that researchers in Seoul, South Korea have discovered that certain enzymes found in the expectant mother’s blood can indicate foetal gender within the first trimester.

One of the study’s researchers Dr Hyun Mee Ryu says that although further research is needed, the group’s results have shown “it is possible to predict the sex of a child as early as the first few weeks after conception”.

The research paper has been published in the January 2012 issue of the FASEB Journal and describes the gender test as the first of its kind.

Ryu says that current gender tests involved invasive procedures that carry a risk, while an ultrasound cannot be used to determine gender until external genitalia have developed after the first trimester:

Generally, early foetal gender determination has been performed by invasive procedures such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis. However, these invasive procedures still carry a one to two percent risk of miscarriage and cannot be performed until 11 weeks of gestation.

For their study, the researchers studied maternal plasma taken from 203 women during their first trimester.

For more information see the Irish Medical News >

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