A Guide to PGD and Family Balancing

When a family is balanced, it has an equal number of children of both genders. Many parents want to complete their families by having another daughter or son, and family balancing through gender selection is a way to accomplish that goal. Read on to learn more about the family balancing process.

How is it Achieved?

The first step in the family balancing process occurs when the woman undergoes an IVF cycle to harvest eggs, which are subsequently fertilized with her partner’s reproductive cells. The embryos are tested for chromosomal normalcy and gender selection before being transferred into the patient’s uterus. PGD or preimplantation genetic diagnosis is used in family balancing, and it is only done in the IVF context.

What is In Vitro Fertilization?

IVF or in vitro fertilization occurs when a female patient takes medicines that cause multiple eggs to mature within her ovaries within a single menstrual cycle. The egg development and maturation processes take roughly two weeks, during which time the woman takes medicines to encourage follicle growth while preventing egg release. While IVF is usually done by couples who can’t conceive on their own, it’s a necessary part of family balancing, as it’s the only way to determine the gender of embryos.


PGD is a test done on embryos five or six days after eggs are retrieved, and it gives valuable information about each embryo. Chromosomal results indicate an embryo’s gender, as well as the presence of any abnormalities such as Down Syndrome. Though effective, PGD cannot be 100% accurate due to limitations inherent in working with human embryos.

What Will PGD Tell Parents About Their Embryos?

The results of PGD can describe an embryo’s status without changing it. Statistics show that half of all embryos are female and half are male, and that many have chromosomal flaws regardless of family history, previous pregnancies or the patient’s age. This means that a patient could undergo an IVF cycle only to find that there are no desirable embryos of the correct gender. Although many patients have no infertility issues, the procedure isn’t guaranteed to create a pregnancy. Patients should discuss the benefits and risks with their physicians before proceeding with family balancing procedures.