IVF may increase the likelihood of a boy by up to 5%
Women who get pregnant with IVF have a higher chance of giving birth to a boy, a new study has found. With natural conception, there’s a 51% chance of having a boy, but this increases to 56% if IVF is used.
The study, reported in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG), looked at 14,000 births following fertility treatment in Australia and New Zealand between 2002 and 2006.
The researchers found that a lesser-used method of IVF, known as ICSI, is slightly more likely to result in a baby girl.
The balance of boys and girls born varies over time naturally as humans respond to external factors such as famine or war, explained Professor Philip Steer, the editor of BJOG.
It is not currently clear why male embryos are more likely to result from IVF but it may be that they are better equipped to deal with the stresses of the process. However, scientists have warned that parents should not use this idea as a way of choosing their child’s gender.
“Patients should certainly not consider using this as a method of trying to have a boy or a girl, since the procedure used needs to be selected to try and maximize the chance of pregnancy,” said Dr Allen Pacey, a fertility expert.