29/12/2009 03:26 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Could A Blood Test Predict The Sex Of Your Unborn Baby?

New research suggests that a simple blood test may be able to predict at an early stage whether pregnant women are expecting a boy or a girl. But is it necessarily a good thing to find out what you're having before the event? Surely the priority is to have a healthy baby, whatever the gender?

The research has recently been published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Between 2003 and 2009, researchers tested women who were between eight and 10 weeks pregnant. They examined DNA from their blood samples to predict the sex of the babies in 186 pregnancies, predicting correctly that 105 boys and 81 girls would be born.

Researcher Dr. Peter Scheffer, of the University of Amsterdam, says that this is good news for parents. He told MSNBC "It eliminates the dangers associated with invasive testing".

Determining the sex of an unborn baby can lead to early detection of certain disorders. Genetic diseases such as haemophilia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy are carried by the X chromosome that almost always occurs in boys. So if a mother is a carrier of one of these conditions, it may help her to avoid a stressful pregnancy if she knows what she's having.

Genuine medical reasons aside, what happens if parents aren't happy about the gender of the child they're carrying? Could this test pave the way for selective terminations based on sex or potential for disability? Currently many parents opt to find out what flavour of baby they're having at the 20 week scan. The big difference with this blood test is that it can be carried out much earlier in the pregnancy.

One way or another, it looks like tests such as this are one their way, though their use may be tightly controlled. Researchers concluded in Obstetrics and Gynaecology that, "Non-invasive foetal sex determination in maternal plasma is highly reliable and clinically applicable."

What do you think? Should we be able to find out an unborn baby's gender so easily? Would you use a test like this if it were available?

Source [ParentDish US]