Home Pregnancy Gender Testing – Pink or Blue or Con?

One of my repeated gripes is that the Daily Mail Health editorial policy is little more than to be a shill for quacks. Like most of the paper, you have to read it with deep suspicion. Here is the latest piece of questionable reporting on a new home pregnancy test that purports to tell you the sex on your baby only a few weeks into pregnancy.

The £189 mail-order kit works by testing a single drop of a pregnant woman’s blood.

The home kit – being offered for sale online by DNA Worldwide – will give women the chance of finding out the sex of their baby regardless of their genetic history.

Mothers-to-be need only prick a finger to give a small blood sample. They then place this on a special filter paper and send it off to a lab for testing.

The Daily Mail is of course most worried that this will lead to a rise in abortions. What they ought to worried about is if the test works at all. Scams based on sex prediction have been around for a while. The thing to look for that might indicate that the test is a fake is to look and see if the company offers a money back guarantee if they get it the prediction wrong.

Why should that be? Surely this should give peace of mind? Exactly. This is how the scam works:

As the scammer, you do not need to do any test at all, or you can do any sort of unreliable test you like. Send back your result to the customer – boy or girl. This could be random or as a result of your dodgy test. If the test is right, you keep your fee. If the test is wrong, and the customer complains, send the money back. Even with a completely random prediction, you will get to keep at least half your money. At nearly £200 per test you will make over £100 per test, even if you are rubbish! The money-back scheme, far from providing peace of mind, lures you into the scam.

So, is DNA Worldwide one of these scammers or have they made a breakthrough?

Looking at their web site reveals they offer a MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!!!

They provide a reference to a published article in Science Journal no less. But on inspection, this is not a paper on this laboratory’s results, but comment on this sort of test. Now, I do not have a subscription to the article, (and nor will most customers of DNA Worldwide) but the article has been cited by other scientists and the title of a paper by Bianchi is At-Home Fetal DNA Gender Testing: Caveat Emptor. This really says it all. Why would they provide evidence that their customers cannot access?

One article that we can get hold of, from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, discusses this test in some detail. It notes that this sort of testing promises the scientific credibility of a DNA test, but without the published evidence to give us reassurance. The legal position of such testing may be in a grey area as the company claims this is not a ‘medical test’. They may be right, being a boy or a girl is not a ‘medical condition.’

Until such time that companies like these publish their success rates in independently reviewed journals, we should be very wary. Buyer Beware indeed.

UPDATE 5th May

Thanks to the kind reader who has allowed me to look at the Science article used as proof of the results for this lab. And as suspected, the article is not a paper but a discussion of the lack of good data to show how accurate home testing is and what a dodgy ethical minefield the whole thing is.

Now DNA Worldwide. I do not know if you are just one more quack laboratory or not. I was going to ask you to publish your data to show that you really are better than 99% accurate. But there is a much easier way for all of us to feel reassured that at least your tests are good.

Instead of offering a money back guarantee, like all the scammers in the past, offer ten times your fee back if you get the result wrong. It should not cost you much if you are as accurate as you claim you are. You will only loose money if you are less than 90% accurate. Resonable? A small price for real confidence in your result. But if you are not as good as you say you are, you will be out of business in 9 months.

What do you say?

10 Comments on Home Pregnancy Gender Testing – Pink or Blue or Con?

  1. OK – that’s a bold and worthwhile suggestion 10x the fee for the inconvenience etc. One of the dafter reasons for the test that I’ve seen is that some parents like to start decorating a room for a boy or girl and need to know as early as possible, rather than waiting for the 20 week scan.

    All of which goes against the number of women who tell very few people that they are pregnant until the tricky 1st trimester is out of the way – ‘just in case’.

  2. Hi everyone! After two boys we desperately wanted to know the sex of our third child so purchased the Pink or blue. Was informed it was another boy so fully prepared ourselves. Went for a 4D scan yesterday and was told that its a long awaited “girl”! Have heard lots of speculation about Pink or blue and now think its a con as they never said my card of blood was contaminated!
    I shall be handing them my birth cert for a full refund! If they are still trading LOL.

  3. I took the test after having it recommended to me by a friend (it gave an accurate result for her and she was happy with it). I used it at 8 weeks pregnant, and the results were correct. I was glad to know and it seemed fine to me!

  4. I fear that after reading that comment that you either work for pink and blue or are too stupid to be allowed to raise children.

  5. In some places, people kill the girl child after knowing the sex of the baby. I really hate this, the new child has the right to be born.

    The government makes law for preventing the geneder test, but it happens illigally. So untill our minds are not changed, nothing is going to change.

    All i want to say is, we should not test the gender of the new child, and if a girl found, we must not kill her.. She needs to be born, let her se the Beauty of this world created by God.

  6. What’s the harm in a test like this to satify someone’s curiousity?

    Yes I agree that for those who use something like this for the purpose of arborting a baby in some cultures is disgusting but if anyone providing this type of service ensures due diligence on who they sell their service to then I don’t see the harm.

    It is a novelty product and shouldn’t really be used to determine your future of your family but shouldn’t be outlawed either.

    There’s a variety of different tests out there including urine based ones that claim 80% accuracy at 6-10 weeks. I can’t vouch for them but if you are too stupid to understand that the test will only work for 80 out of 100 people then you are indeed, too stupid to have a baby!

    Don’t buy the test if you don’t like the statistics!

    • Lina – there may of course be many people who are unaware of the poor evidence, potential errors or the possibility of fraud. I am just doing my bit to help people make informed decisions. If you want to go with the test after realising it has the characteristics of a fraud, then, well, that is your decision.

    • How can the providers of this service possibly ensure due diligence given that they sell the test over the internet? How can they ensure that the stupids out there who only value one sex or another aren’t going to use this test to gender select? Ultimately the only ones who suffer from those who are ‘too stupid to have a baby’ are the ones who are born (or not) to these idiots.

  7. I had this test 4 years ago having 2 boys and just moving house wanted to know the sex, had one test they said it was contaminated,resent a new test said it was defiantly a boy as my blood showed high male hormone levels,I now have a 3 year old beautiful GIRL,the company I bought it from was a reputable company in England when I claimed my refund they told me they were dropping their association with pink&blue as they had so many complaints and wrong results they believed it to be a scam.

  8. I bought an at home gender testing kit from EasyDNA at 13 weeks pregnant and received an email from them 8 working days later to say I was expecting a little girl.

    Yesterday I had my 20 week scan at an NHS hospital. There were 2 sonographer a present, granted one of them was training, but they were both very confident it’s a boy,

    I bought the test purely out of curiosity. It’s my first child and I don’t mind what I have but I’ve bought lots of things that won’t be suitable for a little boy.

    We won’t be sure of the gender until the baby is born but I can’t help but feel sceptical about the blood test. I phoned EasyDNA’s customer service number and the lady I spoke to was rude and unhelpful. I wonder how many similar calls she’d had that day.

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