When and how can you find out the gender of your baby?

Claire Thomas, Alphabiolabs

By Claire Thomas, DNA Technical Manager at AlphaBiolabs
Last reviewed: 19/06/2024

While many expectant parents wait until around 20 weeks into pregnancy to find out the sex of their baby via an ultrasound scan, scientific advancements have made it possible to find out the sex of your baby from as early as 6 weeks into your pregnancy, with only a blood sample from mum required.

Finding out your baby’s gender early gives you more time to prepare for your new arrival by decorating the nursery, buying gender-specific clothes, and celebrating with loved ones. Some studies have even reported that knowing your baby’s gender can help expectant parents bond with their baby before he or she arrives.

In this article, we look at when (and how) you can find out the gender of your baby during pregnancy.

Blood testing

When can you find out the gender of your baby using blood testing?

An AlphaBiolabs Baby Gender Test can accurately determine a baby’s gender from as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy, with up to 99% accuracy.

When the mother is around 6 weeks pregnant, small amounts of the baby’s DNA begin circulating in the mother’s blood stream, meaning highly sensitive testing methods can then be used to screen the mother’s blood sample for the presence of a Y chromosome.

As the Y chromosome is only found in males, its presence in the mother’s blood sample indicates that the baby is a boy; if no Y chromosome is detected, the baby is a girl.

We offer two options for Baby Gender Testing:

  • At-home Baby Gender Test

    This test allows you to collect your own blood sample in the comfort of your own home, with our easy-to-use, TinyTAP collection device. The TinyTAP device enables you to painlessly collect a very small amount of blood from your upper arm, with no clinical appointments required.

    Simply follow the instructions included with your test kit to collect your own sample and return it to our laboratory for testing. Your secure results will be emailed to you within 3 working days*, or the next day if you choose to upgrade to our Express Service.

    This method is also ideal for people who are needle-phobic, as no venous blood draw is needed.

    We are the only UK laboratory to offer this highly convenient, fuss-free method of blood sample collection for baby gender testing!

    *From receipt of samples at our laboratory, before 10am

  • Clinical Baby Gender Test

    This test is ideally suited for people who would still like to benefit from having their blood sample collected using our pain-free TinyTAP device but would prefer the collection to be performed by one of our professional sample collectors.

    Laboratory analysis is performed in the same way as with our At-home Baby Gender Test, so you will still receive accurate, reliable results. The only difference is that you can choose to have your blood sample collected:

    • At one of our nationwide walk-in centres* OR
    • At a convenient time or location of your choosing*

    *Additional charges apply

    Simply place your order online, and our Customer Services team will contact you to arrange your sample collection appointment.

    If required, it is also possible for our sample collectors to perform a standard venous blood draw (where the sample is taken from a vein in your arm), instead of using our TinyTAP device. If you would prefer a venous blood collection, please speak to our Customer Services team who will be able to arrange the appointment and collection method that is best for you.

Your secure results will be emailed to you in just 3 working days, or the next day if you upgrade to our Express Service.

*From receipt of samples into our laboratory, before 10am

Order a Baby Gender Test

How accurate is blood testing for gender determination?

Baby gender testing using a blood sample from the mother is the most accurate way to determine a baby’s sex before the baby is born.

This advanced scientific method can determine whether your baby is a boy or a girl from as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy with 99% accuracy.

While other laboratories may offer finger prick blood testing for baby gender, this is not something we offer at AlphaBiolabs, as it is much more difficult to prevent male DNA contamination when collecting a blood sample from fingertips.

Contamination with male DNA can affect the results of a baby gender test, leading to a false result.

In addition to being easy-to-use, convenient, and pain-free, a major benefit of our TinyTAP device is that it greatly reduces the likelihood of male DNA contamination, resulting in a much more accurate and trustworthy test result.

What is a clinic/venous blood draw?

A clinic or venous blood draw involves having a blood sample collected by a trained professional such as a nurse, phlebotomist or an AlphaBiolabs sample collector, at home, in a medical setting, or at another convenient location.

In addition to our easy-to-use TinyTAP, which can be used to collect your own blood sample quickly and easily at-home for our Baby Gender Test, we also offer a Clinical Baby Gender Test, depending on your preference.

For a Clinical Baby Gender Test, you can arrange to have your sample collected at one of our UK-wide walk-in centre locations*, or at a location convenient to you*.

Our professional sample collectors use the TinyTAP device as standard to collect your blood sample. However, you can request a venous blood draw (blood sample collected from a vein in the arm), if you would prefer.

Simply place your order for our Clinical Baby Gender Test online, and our Customer Services team will contact you to discuss your needs and arrange your sample collection appointment.

You can also call us on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com for more information about our Baby Gender Testing process.

*Additional charges apply

When can you find out the gender of your baby using a clinic/venous blood draw?

Baby gender testing using a venous blood sample from the pregnant mother can be performed as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy. This is because the baby’s DNA begins circulating in the mother’s blood stream from around 6 weeks.

DNA testing is performed on the sample to screen for the presence of Y chromosome DNA within the mother’s blood. The Y chromosome is only found in males so the presence of a Y chromosome is an indicator that the baby is a boy; if no Y chromosome can be detected, the baby is a girl.

How accurate is blood testing for baby gender?

Baby gender testing using a blood sample from the mother is the most accurate way to determine a baby’s sex before birth.

This is because the baby’s DNA begins circulating in the mother’s bloodstream from as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy, making it possible to determine the baby’s gender using DNA analysis of the mother’s blood sample.

This advanced scientific method can be used to confirm baby gender with 99% accuracy.

Ultrasound scans

What is an ultrasound scan?

An ultrasound scan is performed by a qualified sonographer, and uses a process called sonography to visualise the inside of the body.

The scan is performed using a probe which produces soundwaves. These soundwaves bounce back from the body, creating internal images that can be examined by the sonographer.

Ultrasound scans are non-invasive and are typically carried out by healthcare providers as part of the mother’s antenatal care. They can be used to determine a baby’s sex from around 16 weeks into pregnancy.

When is an ultrasound scan performed during pregnancy? How soon can it be used to determine gender?

In the UK, pregnant women typically have at least two NHS ultrasound appointments during pregnancy, the first of which occurs at around 12 weeks into the pregnancy, and the second around 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

The 20-week scan, also referred to as the anomaly scan, looks in detail at the baby’s bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, kidneys, abdomen and face to check for any abnormalities or anomalies in the baby’s development.

During this scan, expectant parents usually have the option to find out the sex of their baby, depending on whether the baby’s genitals are clearly visible on the day of the scan. However, this is at the hospital’s discretion and some hospitals may refuse to disclose the sex of the baby.

Private ultrasound clinics also offer baby gender scans from around 14 weeks into pregnancy, but this can be costly.

It is not possible to determine the gender of the baby using an ultrasound scan before the 14th week of pregnancy as up until this point baby boys and girls look the same on the scan.

How accurate is an ultrasound scan for gender determination?

Statistics show that ultrasounds can be wrong up to 10% of the time. That means approximately 1 in 10 expectant parents will be told that they are having a boy or a girl, only to have quite a surprise at the birth!

It is easier to determine baby gender using an ultrasound scan later in pregnancy. However, even in late pregnancy the result could still be incorrect depending on how skilled the sonographer is and whether the baby is laying in a way that allows the sonographer to get a clear view of the baby’s genitals.

Errors can also be made when reading the scan – for example, mistaking a loop of the umbilical cord for a penis and incorrectly identifying the baby as a boy, when in fact it is a baby girl.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

What is Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)?

CVS is an invasive procedure that involves the removal and testing of a small sample of the baby’s placenta during pregnancy. It is only offered to women who have a high risk of having a baby with a genetic or chromosomal abnormality (e.g. Down’s syndrome).

The test is usually performed by inserting a needle through the abdomen and into the uterus.

Because CVS is a genetic test that is used to analyse the baby’s DNA, baby gender can also be determined using this method. However, the test carries a small risk of miscarriage, so should only be used when absolutely necessary.

When can you find out the gender of your baby using CVS testing?

CVS is typically performed between 11 and 14 weeks into pregnancy.

However, because the test carries a small risk of miscarriage, it is only available to women who are at high risk of having a baby with a genetic or chromosomal abnormality (e.g. Down’s syndrome).

How accurate is CVS for gender determination?

CVS is around 98% accurate for determining the sex of a baby. However, in a small percentage of cases (around 1-2%), it will obtain unclear results.

Amniocentesis

What is amniocentesis?

For amniocentesis, a small sample of amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding the baby) is extracted from the uterus using a long, thin needle which is inserted into the abdomen.

As with CVS testing, amniocentesis is usually performed for high-risk pregnancies, where there is a chance that the baby may have a genetic or chromosomal abnormality.

When can you find out the gender of your baby using amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis is performed at 15-18 weeks into the pregnancy.

As the test is used to examine the baby’s DNA, baby gender can also be determined using amniocentesis.

However, as the test carries a small risk of miscarriage, it should only be used where necessary for high-risk pregnancies (where there is an increased possibility of the baby having a genetic condition).

How accurate is amniocentesis for gender determination?

Amniocentesis is extremely accurate in determining the gender of a baby during pregnancy, although the procedure can be unsuccessful due to technical problems, such as not collecting enough amniotic fluid.

Gender selection using IVF

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a medical procedure used to help people with fertility issues conceive a baby, when they have had difficulty conceiving naturally.

To begin IVF, the woman taking part in the process undergoes a series of hormone injections to stimulate the production of eggs. Once these eggs are mature, they are collected from the ovaries using a minor surgical procedure.

A sperm sample is also taken from the partner or a sperm donor.

The eggs and sperm are then combined in a laboratory, allowing the sperm to fertilise the eggs, creating embryos. One or more healthy embryos are then selected and placed into the woman’s uterus and, if the process is successful, a positive pregnancy test will follow.

When can you find out the gender of your baby using IVF?

It is possible to test embryos created for IVF to determine the gender of the embryo before it is implanted into the uterus.

This process is known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

This type of baby gender test is available in circumstances where there is a risk that the baby might inherit a disorder related to gender (e.g. if the family has a medical history of a disorder that only affects males, such as Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy).

In this instance, the expectant parents participating in IVF might wish to remove this risk by choosing female embryos, thereby removing the possibility of conceiving a boy.

In the UK, it is illegal to perform gender selection for non-medical reasons using IVF and PGD.

How accurate is IVF for gender determination?

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) during in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is almost 100% accurate in determining the gender of embryos.

However, unless your baby is at risk of a serious genetic disorder, you will not be told the biological sex of your embryos while undergoing IVF.

Where can I get a baby gender test?

The best way to accurately determine the sex of your baby before birth is to take a DNA test.

If you want to find out the sex of your baby as soon as possible, without having to make a clinical appointment, our At-home Baby Gender Test is the test for you.

Collect your own blood sample in the comfort of your own home using our innovative, pain-free TinyTAP device, and return your sample to our laboratory. Your secure results will be emailed to you in just 3 working days, or the next day if you upgrade to our Express Service.

We are the only UK laboratory to offer the easy-to-use, fuss-free TinyTAP device for baby gender testing!

Alternatively, you can choose to have your blood sample collected by one of our professional sample collectors* at one of our nationwide walk-in centres or at a time and location convenient to you (via TinyTAP or venous blood draw).

Order your Baby Gender Test online now, call 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com.

*Additional fees apply

Baby Gender Testing

Boy or Girl? Find out for just £89 with results in 3 days

Claire Thomas, AlphaBiolabs

Claire Thomas

DNA Technical Manager at AlphaBiolabs

Claire joined AlphaBiolabs in 2018 and holds the role of DNA Technical Manager, working within the genetics team.

A highly-skilled geneticist, Claire is a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG), and holds a BSc in Biochemistry.

Claire’s main responsibilities include ensuring all members of the DNA team adhere to ISO 17025 accreditation standards, and that they are comprehensively trained in the latest techniques for DNA analysis.

She also oversees the quality and integrity of AlphaBiolabs’ DNA test reports, ensuring the very highest standards are maintained.

Prior to joining AlphaBiolabs, Claire completed an internship in Molecular Genetics with the NHS, providing services for the diagnosis of inherited disorders.

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