Tampa doctor: Choice of baby's sex not just for rich, famous

- The days of waiting to find out if you're having a boy or a girl are long gone. Some couples are opting to choose the sex of their baby.

Model Chrissy Tiegen and husband John Legend made headlines for doing just that. They're also facing a lot of criticism for their decision. The two opted for a girl.

This is a choice not only available to the rich and famous. The procedure, and choice, is available through the USF Health South Tampa Center. Doctors there gave FOX 13 a look at how the process works and how often their patients elect to make this choice. 

"Maybe about five-percent of our patients actually come here wanting gender selection," Dr. Shayne Plosker explained.

He added, most of those who come for gender selection did not necessarily need IVF to become pregnant.

While far from the new norm, Dr. Plosker said he sees a growing interest from couples who want to bypass gender surprises, especially because - he said - the sex selection process is so accurate.

"There's approximately a three- to four-percent error rate," he explained.

The official term used for the process is pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. The process to impregnate a woman is the same as the usual IVF process, just with one extra step.

Once doctors take the female eggs and combines them with sperm, they can tell in less than a week which embryos have male or female chromosomes.

Doctors will take the male or female embryos, exclusively, and implant them in a woman's uterus.

"Most of the gender selection, now, is for social reasons or preferential reasons," Dr. Plosker said.

With little medical need for the procedure, some say it's unnecessary.

Tiegen faced criticism on Twitter Thursday and fired back with sarcasm, saying, "I also picked the embryo with a taste for bacon, a knack for magic and size 7 feet so she can always find shoes."

Doctors said, even within the medical field, opinions are divided on the procedure. Some excited to see where else science could lead.

"It's amazing, it's so exciting. This has got to be the most exciting field in medicine," Dr. Plosker said.

An IVF patient, whether she intends to select her baby's gender or only become pregnancy, has about a 50-percent chance of becoming pregnant from the procedure.

Doctors said the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis process costs between $20,000 and $22,000.

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