Though couples may be blessed with multiple children of a particular gender, they may still yearn to raise a child of the opposite gender, and thus complete their family. To this end, the option of family balancing has helped many such patients and couples achieve their dreams.
Our society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), has had differing views over the years on the ethics of family balancing. In 2001, the ASRM Ethics Committee published a report that highlighted the situations in which family balancing may be undertaken. In addition, some factors for patients to consider include what will be done with embryos of the gender they do not wish to select, and that there are no guarantees. A patient may have multiple embryos that are chromosomally normal, but are all of the opposite gender than they had hoped for. Even if there are embryos of the desired gender, this still does not 100% guarantee a healthy outcome. The ultimate key for patients to understand is that one can never determine the sex of the baby, rather we can only check.
Family balancing is a treatment approach that involves In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS). A patient or couple will undergo IVF, then all of their viable embryos will undergo CCS which entails biopsy of these embryos, and genetically analyzing the specimens. Assuming there are embryos of the desired gender, the couple then has the freedom of choosing to select transfer from these embryos in hopes of finally having that child they so desperately long for.