How to Determine a Male or Female Fetus

Written by ashley brown
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How to Determine a Male or Female Fetus
Ultrasounds are key in determining a fetus's sex. (baby image by Diane Stamatelatos from

For many expecting parents, knowing the sex of the foetus is the pivotal step that transitions us from foetus thinking to baby thinking. Accurately reading a sonogram is the most common way to help identify whether or not your new addition is male or female. Not only will you want to have faith that your ultrasound technician can accurately read the sonogram, but you may find that you, too, would like to be able to read the sonogram correctly for your own peace of mind.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  • Ultrasound

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  1. 1

    Schedule an ultrasound. Typically, ultrasounds are performed 20 weeks into your pregnancy. However, ultrasounds can be performed earlier to confirm pregnancy or detect a possible abnormality.

  2. 2

    Ask the ultrasound technician for the sex of your baby. Asking the ultrasound technician whether the foetus is a male of female is not an uncommon question. The fact that most ultrasounds are done at 20 weeks coincides with the fact that the fetus's genitalia are most likely to be recognisable at this stage of development.

  3. 3

    View the ultrasound with the ultrasound technician. Ask the technician to point out the fetus's body parts, especially the genitalia. Ultrasounds can sometimes be hard to read, so do not be afraid to ask questions or have the technician give you a step-by-step walk-through of how she determined whether the foetus was male or female.

  4. 4

    Question your technician if she states that the foetus is a female simply because she cannot find a penis. The ultrasound of a female foetus should have three distinct lines that indicate the presence of the labia. Similarly, a male foetus should only be declared if a penis and scrotum are clearly present.

  5. 5

    Relax if your technician is unable to detect the whether the foetus is male or female during your visit. This could happen for one of any number of reasons. It is possible that the foetus is in an awkward position that is not allowing the technician to take a good picture that can be easily read. It is also possible that the foetus is still developing and its sexual organs have not yet fully formed enough to be recognisable.

  6. 6

    Schedule another appointment at a later date, possibly two weeks after your current appointment, if you are unsatisfied with the results of your ultrasound reading. This is a wise thing to do if you are not certain that your technician made a proper reading or if the technician admittedly struggled to take a proper reading of the fetus's sex.

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