Family balancing is essentially a form of gender selection which is done for the purpose of achieving a more balanced representation of both genders in a family. A “balanced family” is one with equal numbers of male and female children. Many parents feel a strong desire to complete their families with the specific addition of a son or a daughter. With the development of assisted reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis it is now possible to determine the gender of an embryo and initiate the family balancing process.
IVF technology not only allows couples that are afflicted with infertility to conceive biological children, but over the years it has also become the go-to method for family balancing among couples who have one or more children already. A cycle of IVF involves the fertilization of a retrieved egg using a retrieved sperm, from the female and male partners. The egg and sperm are then fertilized in a laboratory, a few days after which an embryo forms. Methods like PGD can these be used to screen the chromosomal make-up of the embryos which allows the doctors to ascertain the gender that the embryos are carrying. In this way, those embryos of the desired gender are kept to be implanted or frozen for future use.
Family balancing is based purely on the discretion of the couple that decide to use the process. The gender is decided by the couple and the choice of using either PGD or CCS as their embryo screening process. Both these processes not only ensure that the couple have a balanced family but also screen the embryos for any possible inheritable genetic disorders.
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