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The days that everyone had to wait until a baby's birth to find out its gender are long gone, but parents to-be still generally have to wait a good while until they can get this information. With pregnancy ultrasounds, it is possible to see whether a baby is a boy or a girl at approximately 16 weeks. Today's parents can actually do it a little earlier but how?

Finding out a baby's gender in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy does not often serve a purpose. Screening tests that use a baby's DNA, through a maternal blood sample, has been developed to find out about chromosomal abnormalities, like Down Syndrome, early on in pregnancy. These tests can also determine a baby's gender, and tests like the The Pink or Blue gender tests are (as you can see from its name) specifically marketed to parents who wan to know their baby's sex. This test can be used between 10 and 14 weeks into a pregnancy. Tests that allow expectant couples to have this information about their fetus are not permitted everywhere, and perhaps with good reason.

Of course, many parents are very curious about their baby and would like to know as much as possible about him or her, as soon as possible. Moms may feel they can bond with their baby more easily when they know if it is a boy or a girl, and it's certainly normal to be very excited about the prenatal appointment at which your pregnancy ultrasound will probably show a baby's sex. But... why would one want to find out what a baby's gender is that early on in pregnancy?

Like tests that are used to determine whether a baby has Down Syndrome, early gender tests often aim to satisfy more than parents' curiosity. Early gender tests are let's be honest carried out to allow the possibility of abortion in case the fetus is not of the desired gender. This is a practice that is repulsive to most people, and it's no wonder that governments feel the need to place restrictions on such tests. The rest of us, those who are just curious, can wait a little while longer to know whether they are expecting a boy or a girl.

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