A recent article on the web raised the issue of in-utero DNA gender testing. Here is the link to the original story from which the quote below is extracted.
Danielle Hardy wanted to know the sex of her unborn baby earlier than ultrasound could show it, so she bought Acu-Gen's Baby Gender Mentor test online. For $275, the test claims it can tell you the sex of your fetus five weeks after conception with a 99.9-percent accuracy rate. Danielle's gender test said she was having a boy. But the problem is, repeated ultrasounds -- seven of them, in fact -- showed a girl, and they proved to be right....Danielle is one of more than a dozen women who filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission claiming the gender tests were wrong. Many accuse the company of not honoring the money-back guarantee....The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the test, because they consider it a 'home brew' test. Another government agency regulates clinical laboratories, but does not consider this a medical test and, like the FDA, isn't regulating Acu-Gen's lab at all.
Here is the link to the home page of the web site of AcuGen, which is offering the test in question called the Early Baby Gender Mentor. Below is a portion of their "200% guarantee statement" copied directly from the AcuGen web site. The company is obviously concerned that a customer will somehow swap a baby of different sex than the one that is "tested for" but this seems like a lot of trouble to collect an additional $250 in addition to the original out-of-pocket test fee of $250 -- the specimen collection kit is an additional $25.
We guarantee that all test results will be absolutely 99.9% accurate. If your test results are legitimately incorrect, Baby Gender Mentor warranties a 200% money-back refund for both the laboratory fee and purchasing expense of the kit. An original birth certificate and a valid registration number are both required to claim the refund. In order to be eligible for the 200% money-back guarantee you MUST read and adhere to all the recommended procedures. In addition, the parent’s name on the original birth certificate MUST match exactly the name on the blood specimen collection card, and your current address MUST match your original mailing address at the time of the test.
Here is a consumer-oriented web site, In-Gender.com, that comments on the AcuGen testing procedure in the following way:
Because cells shed by a growing baby cross the placenta into the mother's blood, your blood drops may contain fragments of your baby's DNA. It is not possible to tell which pieces of DNA belong to you, and which pieces belong to your baby...The sample is analyzed to see if it contains segments of DNA from the Y chromosome. Only males have a Y chromosome, so any male DNA detected cannot possibly belong to the mother -- it could only come from her male fetus....It's important to understand that the nature of the test does NOT indicate "Boy" or "Girl", but simply, "male DNA detected or not". Positive result (male DNA detected) -- Means that you are carrying at least one male baby. You could also be having twin boys, or boy/girl twins. Negative result (no male DNA detected) -- Means that you are not pregnant with a boy, so a girl pregnancy is assumed. It could also mean that none of the baby's DNA was in the blood droplets you collected, or that the DNA was there but not detected.
It strikes me that AcuGen's claim of 99.9% accuracy is a stretch for a test of this type (or perhaps all lab tests). What do you think and what is your overall reaction to this story?