The blood test was created to detect medical conditions, but can tell the baby's gender as well.
A blood test from mothers can determine the sex of a fetus as early as seven weeks into a pregnancy, says a new report. The research was published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
HealthDay reports that the simple blood test does not carry the risks, like miscarriage, as other methods for determining gender, since it is noninvasive. The test works by scouring free-floating DNA in the mother's blood, looking for "Y" or male chromosomes and if no Y chromosomes are detected, the fetus is presumed to be a girl.
The test was not created for the purpose of determining the sex of a fetus, but instead to detect medical conditions. However, it does predict "boy" or "girl" with great accuracy, according to the researchers. ThirdAge: Toddlers Sharing Bed OK'd By A New Study
Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, senior author of the paper, told HealthDay, "There is no reason why it couldn't be [used to determine fetal gender] — the technology is widely available and the test does not require specialized software or the like."
Still, Bianchi did note that the test was developed to spot certain sex-linked medical conditions early in gestation, saying, "The major implications of this study are for three different groups of conditions, two of which are genetic conditions."
Bianchi and her colleagues looked at 57 studies from the past 15 years involving about 6,500 pregnancies, roughly half producing boys and half producing girls. The test correctly detected the gender of the baby virtually all of the time, according to HealthDay. But when the was performed before seven weeks' gestation, it was not accurate.
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