A Dutch study looked at 201 women over the course of several years. They were able to give an answer 189 times and were right every time. This didn't involve an ultrasound or any invasive genetic testing, just a simple vial of blood from mom. And the results take only a few days to return.
The researchers would like this to be employed immediately, stating that this can greatly reduce anxiety and additional, sometimes dangerous testing, like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). It can also ease anxieties immediately of families worried about X-linked disorders.
When they have the mother's blood, they begin looking for SRY (sex-determining region Y gene) and DYS-14, found only in males. This being present indicates that it has to be a male fetus. If it is not present, the researchers could conclude that the baby is a girl but this is not sufficient.
A polymorphism could be found that does not match the mother's DNA. If it matches the father, then the baby would be a girl, assuming DSY-14 and SRY is not found.
This test, will not, however, tell anyone if the baby has any genetic issues. There is no word on how much the testing would cost or where it would be done, nor how soon it would be available commercially.
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Reliability of Fetal Sex Determination Using Maternal Plasma.
Scheffer, van der Schoot, Page-Christiaens, Bossers, van Erp, de Haas. Obstetrics & Gynecology, January 2010.