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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The clinical relevance of sex selection techniques.

Clinical and laboratory attempts to alter the sex ratio require more complete and thorough study. Improved identification of Y-bearing sperm through chromosome evaluation rather than by F-body identification is critical to provide a more precise definition. The tentative conclusions stated below are based on an assessment of literature from which it is generally difficult to draw conclusions: 1. The timing of intercourse in relation to ovulation and subsequent fertilization appears to influence the sex ratio. More females are conceived when coitus occurs relatively close to ovulation, and more males are conceived when the sperm or egg is in the reproductive tract for a relatively longer time before conception. The influence of coital timing on the sex ratio is overall quite subtle and is not a practical method to alter the sex ratio for individual couples. 2. The use of ovulation-inducing medications slightly favors female offspring. A decrease in sex ratio of 5% to 10% has been shown in multiple studies. 3. Artificial insemination with fresh donor or homologous spermatozoa results in more male births with a reported 7% to 10% increase in the sex ratio. It appears that ovulation induction combined with artificial insemination cancels the respective influences of each on the sex ratio. 4. Sperm separation techniques using albumin (for selection of Y-bearing sperm) or Sephadex column filtration (for selection of X-bearing sperm) are the only techniques that have been reported to alter the sex ratio to a degree that is clinically relevant. Although clinical birth data are just beginning to accumulate, these methods appear to have a 70% to 80% success for selection of assumed Y-bearing sperm and a 75% to 80% success for selection of assumed X-bearing sperm. The validity of these results will remain questionable until fully detailed accounts are published and successfully repeated. Free-flow electrophoresis appears to achieve significant separation; however, the depressed postprocedure spermatozoa motility presently limits the usefulness of this procedure. 5. There is a potential to combine clinical and laboratory methods to maximize the efficiency of sex selection for interested couples. Modern methods to identify ovulation (e.g., urinary LH kits, ultrasonography) may help the timing of coitus for sex selection. Clomiphene citrate may enhance female sex preselection when Sephadex column filtration is also employed. 6. The priority of sex preselection in terms of medical, social, and demographic consideration remains to be determined. The avoidance of sex-linked genetic disorders is a reasonable and desirable goal.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. The clinical relevance of sex selection techniques. Zarutskie, P.W., Muller, C.H., Magone, M., Soules, M.R. Fertil. Steril. (1989) [Pubmed]
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