Ultrasound for sex determination, if

Girl or boy? How often do doctors get wrong about gender

Content checked by midwife Nadine Beermann.

Most parents-to-be have certain expectations about their baby's gender. It doesn't always have to be the cliché painting of the room in baby blue or pink. Maybe it's just a vision of the family as they will look later. Even parents who are completely neutral about gender want to think of a name for their child and in many cases it is assigned to a gender. But how sure can you be with your doctor's statement? How safe is sex determination at which stage of pregnancy?

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Some couples don't care what gender their baby will be. Other parents want either a boy or a girl. And when they find out the gender around the 20th week of pregnancy, it is cause for celebration for some. The others adapt their ideas and after a short time are just as happy.

The moment couples learn the gender of their new family member, a new, more concrete picture forms in their minds. Aha, so this will be our family: mom, dad, daughter. Some see it as clearly in their minds as a photo that they have looked at many times.

What if the doctors are wrong about determining the sex?

Just stupid if the doctor is wrong. Because if you walk around with a picture in your head for weeks, you simply adjust your mind to something. And the longer this picture is maintained, the more concrete the expectations become. We have become more modern and less stuck in our role clichés, especially when it comes to babies. Still stupid when you're sitting on a pile of pink rompers that friends and family have given you.

At the latest when choosing the first name, gender is important. And for most parents, that's a lengthy process.

One thing is clear: if you have committed yourself to a certain gender for months, it will be quite a change for you when it is something else. And giving birth to your own baby is exhausting enough. Very few parents are open to surprises.

This is how your baby's gender will evolve

Whether your baby will be a girl or a boy is already clear at the time of fertilization. Even before your baby had organs, a heartbeat or a brain, the future gender was already part of the genetic information.

The first gender-specific characteristics begin to emerge from the 7th week of pregnancy. Now the hormones begin to work on the genital organs. However, your doctor cannot yet detect this on the ultrasound. From the 10th week, the ovaries develop in girls.

From the 11th week of pregnancy, the small bud (protuberance) can be seen. The sexual organs will develop from it. However, predictions for determining gender at this point are less accurate than simply guessing the gender. 46% of the predictions are correct and with a 50:50 chance 😉

When can you find out whether you are expecting a boy or a girl?

According to the law (§ 15 Genetic Diagnostics Act), your gynecologist may only inform you about the gender of your child with your consent at the end of the 12th week of pregnancy.

Even at this point in time, the error rate is still quite high. The probability that your doctor is correct is 80% by the 13th week. With the remaining 20 percent, the gender is not clearly identifiable or your doctor is simply wrong.

By the 19th week, your child's sexual organs have fully matured. During the second major ultrasound, your doctor can now determine the gender.

What is the error rate when determining gender?

It is estimated that about 5 - 10% of the prognoses about ultrasound are wrong. Your baby may be lying awkwardly. In this case, it sometimes helps to get up and run again.

In the amniotic fluid test, the sex can be determined from the genetic information. This type of sex determination is clear. However, the test is primarily used for the early detection of hereditary diseases and is therefore not a standard procedure.

How do sex determination errors occur?

How well the gender can be recognized depends on its location in the uterus. The size of the uterus, abdominal scars, the baby's position, and other factors also play a role. If the penis is currently hidden and the testicles have not yet migrated down, the baby will look like a girl on the ultrasound. Or maybe it is playing a trick on you and is holding your fingers between your legs right now. Oooops! There is seldom absolute security.

How can you be sure

If your doctor is unsure, she will likely let you know. If the gender of your baby has been clearly established, you can of course be happy about it and prepare yourself accordingly. Just keep a little door open in the back of your mind in case the prognoses aren't right.

In the end, all parents love their baby, regardless of their gender. But for those who have committed themselves for months, it can be a shock at first if everything turns out differently than expected.

All parents know how important it is to be mentally flexible. Because with children things often turn out differently than planned. You can already practice for this time by having a plan B ready in your mind.


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About the author: As the mother of a lively toddler, Sibylle loves to write passionately about all the questions that she encounters in her sometimes chaotic, sometimes harmonious and always exciting everyday family life. When she's not working on an item, she's probably thinking about her other passions: cake and her roller skates.