You may have found that most people announce the sex of their baby (if they’re sharing that detail publicly) about half way through their pregnancies. And it’s true that this is often the earliest many people discover this information. But there are several ways, at several different times in your pregnancy, that you can find out the sex of your baby.
How you can find out the sex of your baby:
NIPT testing (earliest: nine weeks)
Typically done between nine and 10 weeks in pregnancy, an NIPT test is a blood test that is primarily used to analyze cell-free fetal DNA to look for chromosomal abnormalities. However, the blood draw can also confirm the sex of the baby, with up to 99 percent accuracy. This non-invasive blood test can be done by anyone, but is typically paid for out-of-pocket since it’s an elective test. It works by looking for Y chromosome materials in the blood sample, which would indicate a male baby.
Invasive testing (earliest: 10 weeks)
Other more invasive tests (like amniocentesis, done between 15 and 20 weeks, or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), done between 10 and 12 weeks), can also determine fetal sex, however these are typically only recommended under specific circumstances to gather more information about the baby’s health and to further determine the presence of chromosomal abnormalities. Both of these tests carry a small risk of miscarriage and so determine the sex of a baby would be secondary to any health concerns that initiate these tests in your pregnancy care.
The 20-week ultrasound (earliest: 18 weeks)
Many people learn the sex of their baby at the 20-week anatomy scan ultrasound. This is a detailed ultrasound usually performed between 18 and 22 weeks and evaluates the growth and development of the baby, checking for any structural abnormalities or markers of potential concern. The ultrasound technician does this through measuring and assessing organs, limbs and bones. At this point, they can also almost always clearly see the genitals of the baby, which can help to determine the sex. The accuracy of this assessment is generally pretty high, but because determining sex is not the primary purpose of the scan, and because it relies on visual assessment of the genitalia, there is room for error, especially if the baby is positioned to obscure the genitals or the umbilical cord is in the way of a clear shot.