Posted on June 7th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

The Myth of Early Fetal Sex Determination

As a sonographer of many years, I know that ultrasound is subjective, but expectant moms seem to continue to be surprised by incorrect early fetal sex determination. And I seem to be receiving more and more emails about this ever-growing problem. Nothing makes me angrier than when another sonographer tries too early to hand out a sex guess! I get angrier still when some businesses make this promise as a marketing ploy.

It just isn’t fair to the patient or customer. I feel these facilities take advantage of pregnant anxious moms who have a desire to know the sex of their baby as soon as possible. After all, it is one of the most anticipated events in pregnancy! However, these mothers-to-be wouldn’t spend their money on an ultrasound if 3D non-medical businesses didn’t exploit that desire. They advertise a promise or guarantee for early fetal sex determination at 12+ Weeks! So, what is the public to believe except that they can deliver on that promise? The truth is they know it’s only a guess. If they guess right, they got lucky. If they guess wrong…oh, well. Here’s some of your money back.

I think developments in the technology have yielded a little too much ambitious guessing in the fetal sex department. Resolution has improved so greatly over the years that we see better than ever with the most modern equipment. But just because we can see “a little something” sticking out, in no way or shape or form, means you’ll be investing in blue paint.

I want to educate every fertile, human-growing woman or parent-to-be out there that even the best ultrasound equipment on the planet cannot differentiate a boy from a girl. To this day, determination of sex is still dependent on the experience and skill of the person holding that probe to your belly. But also know that a sonographer’s skill doesn’t mean squat when external genitalia has just begun to grow. It’s anyone’s guess!

We have all heard a similar story. A customer pays for an early scan and is told one sex. “Congratulations! I’m 100% sure!” Lo and behold! At the mid-pregnancy anatomy screen (or later), the penis has magically fallen off and now all the sailboat motif and cute suspenders have to go back. Or vice versa. The question I always get is, “How did this happen???”

 

Loads of Room for Error

So, just how DID this happen?

Easy. It’s the scanning observer’s opinion, but it’s still just a guess. You assume he or she is experienced in making this determination…maybe, maybe not. Especially when this person displays such confidence in his/her guess, you feel sure that they must be correct in their guess. But it doesn’t mean they are; they can still be very confidently and entirely…wrong.

This is why!

External genitalia is just starting to develop later in the first trimester, and it will continue to morph and change in appearance over the next several weeks. All babies have a little something sticking out at 12 Weeks. But if Baby is a girl, that tissue will shrink and become recognized as a clitoris later on, with labia seen on each side. If a boy, this part grows a little larger and becomes a penis. The scrotal sac develops over the next few weeks but is still quite small. And we cannot see testicles until somewhere around 28 Weeks (or maybe slightly earlier).

 

The Nub Theory?

early fetal sex determination

12 Week Fetus

Most readers ask if this test has any validity. The answer is “some.” If (and, again, subjectivity comes into play here), if an observer knows what fetal angle to obtain and how to read the angle of the nub, you might have a 70% accurate guess. But that’s a few IFs. The observer also has to know when the angle is equivocal, meaning the protruding part is not one way or the other but somewhere in-between. In these cases, a guess cannot be made. Keep in mind here that even if the angle is perfect, there is still a ~30% chance of an incorrect guess! In other words, it’s not a hugely reliable predictor.

 

So, What’s the Best Advice?

Later is better! Wait for your mid-pregnancy anatomy screen at 18 – 20 Weeks. Below are great images of typical and normal-appearing external genitalia of each sex at this age:

male gender, 2nd Trimester

Male Fetus

female gender, 2nd Trimester

Female Fetus

If Baby isn’t cooperating, don’t put the heat on your sonographer to guess anyway. Part of a good sonographer’s job is also to know when NOT to guess.

The truth is that no one should be providing a guess for sex determination much earlier than this in pregnancy, especially for a fee. And certainly not with a 100% positivity attached.

Just because someone says she is 100% sure, doesn’t mean she is right.

Business is business. As long as parents will pay for it, someone will take your money and offer a guess. This is the unfortunate bottom line in the non-medical ultrasound business. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to one of these places. Maybe you just want to see a heartbeat and bond. This is understandable. But I caution you to pay for fetal sex determination earlier than 18 Weeks.

Advice Regarding Early Fetal Sex Determination

All you moms who are thinking about paying for an early scan at a strip mall near you (or anywhere!), please first consider the above info. It might just save you a few bucks and some disappointment later. Alternatively, if you are the kind of person who can remain entirely neutral about any sex guess and just want to have some fun watching Baby move, go for it. Have a blast.

The biggest issue here is our own nagging, relentless, compelling need to know as soon as possible. But more of the same will keep happening. Businesses won’t quit selling early fetal sex determination as long as pregnant moms are buying. Let’s pass the word around, ladies. Just don’t buy what they’re selling!

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questions and more answered!

 

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Posted on April 26th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

14 Weeks Gender & the Too-Early Guess

Read below for some props (thanks!) and a question about 14 Weeks gender from a new reader and subscriber:

First Email

reader:  Hi! I’m expecting my third little one in October. Before I ask my question, I just wanted to say that I’ve been reading your blog for the past 3 hours while my kids are down for a nap. I love it! I went for a private 3D ultrasound on Monday, and he said it was a girl! We are so excited because we have two little boys already. I’ve heard so many horror stories since I had it done, and I’m terrified he was wrong. I clearly see ‘three lines’, but I’m no ultrasound technologist. What do you think? Thanks in advance! I’ve already subscribed, and I’m excited for more!

14 Weeks pregnant, 14 Weeks gender, too-early gender guess

14 Weeks gender, 14 Weeks pregnant, too-early gender guess

wwavb:  Hi! First, let me say thanks so much for reading and subscribing. I’m so happy you are enjoying my (sometimes) sense of humor. I really am very honored that you spent three hours of your own personal quality time reading my stuff! Very cool.

So, I am going to guess that you are maybe 14 Weeks? 15? Please write back and let me know. Maybe you have already come across some of my posts. You may already be familiar with my opinion of these ultrasound drive-thrus! Baby looks a bit small in these images, like you may be a little early to determine gender.

If you are less than 18-20 Weeks, wait to paint! This is really the best time (and later) to determine gender, and those images are not proof enough to me to paint pink just yet. Please know I am not telling you he’s wrong, I just cannot concur based on these images.

Second Email

reader:  You’ve guessed correctly! I was 14 Weeks in this ultrasound and did, in fact, read your posts about the drive-thrus. I must say, if I’d had know your opinion before, I probably would’ve waited. He told me he was 75% sure it was a girl and to come back in two weeks for another look for free. I’m definitely not convinced that it is a girl, nor have I bought anything pink. I do hope that it is, though! Thanks for your input!

wwavb:  I hope so, too! Pink is so much fun to buy, and you could use some estrogen in your family! Feel free to email me again when you go back and then again when you go for your diagnostic anatomy screen at 18-20 Weeks. 😉 I’d love to tell you pink, too. Thanks again for reading.

***
To anyone who is reading now or in the future, don’t let anyone take your money to guess gender at 14 Weeks. It truly is a guess, and anyone has a 50/50 shot without looking at all, right?! Please be sure to read my post above on non-medical, elective ultrasound businesses. It’s so important all moms are educated on the safety issues regarding some of them.
My best advice is to wait to buy pink or blue and wait to paint. Also, (by all means) ensure you have a real ultrasound professional scanning you.
Have a great day!
Be sure to email your questions, stories, or pics to wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

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