MicroSort® Method for Gender (Sex) Selection
MicroSort® is a relatively new method that increases the chance of a couple having a child of a particular gender. MicroSort® is currently in FDA review after a clinical trial has been completed. It, therefore, is currently not available for clinical use in the U.S. for the purpose of elective gender selection.
Ninety percent of the applicants in the concluded clinical trial were purely interested in family balancing (i.e., elective gender selection); the rest were hoping to prevent X-linked diseases that can only be passed on to boys.
MicroSort® can also be used to try and prevent the transmission of X-linked disorders, diseases that mothers carry and can transfer only to boys, such as hemophilia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. MicroSort® significantly lowers the risk of transmitting these disorders, but isn’t 100 percent effective. To prevent transmission of sex-linked diseases, MicroSort® is currently under special FDA approval, still accepting candidates.
MicroSort® is used before conception to separate X- and Y-bearing sperm, either producing girls or boys. The technique sorts the X-bearing sperm from the Y-bearing sperm in a man’s semen sample by dyeing sperm with a fluorescent label and passing them through the beam of a laser. Because X sperm carry more genetic material, they glow slightly brighter than Y sperm. It should be noted that the end result is not a pure sample of male or female sperm but one that is “enriched” with the gender of choice.
Currently, MicroSort® sperm separation for female gender selection (X Sort) results in an average of 90% X-bearing sperm in the sorted specimen. Microsort sperm separation for male gender selection (Y Sort) currently results in an average of 85% Y-bearing sperm in the sorted specimen. In other words, gender selection by Microsort is about 90% accurate when it comes to choosing girls and about 85% accurate for boys.
For most couples, the sorted sperm sample is used with simple intrauterine insemination (IUI) to achieve pregnancy. For couples with more serious infertility issues, MicroSort® can also be used with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), to increase the chance of successful pregnancy.
Since the application of MicroSort® technology to humans has just recently become possible, only limited information is available on pregnancy rates, risks, or outcomes in humans. The process is currently under FDA review after a clinical trial. Until FDA approves clinical use of MicroSort®, the method is limited for clinical use in the U.S. to gender selection for prevention of sex-linked genetic diseases, and it is currently not available for family balancing purposes.
* CAUTION: Investigational device. Limited by federal (or United States) law to investigational use.