easyDNA UK, which has its office based in Kent, has recently expanded its portfolio of tests to include a cutting edge baby gender DNA test with maternal urine, a test which can be carried out successfully at just 9 weeks of pregnancy.
The baby gender urine test offered by easyDNA is currently the only gender prediction test that relies on analysis of fetal DNA in maternal urine samples. The only other DNA test similar to this one but not offered by easyDNA, is a gender test with blood. easyDNA is marketing its highly advanced urine gender DNA test in the UK under the brand name “KnowtheGender”.
The company notes how this test has an accuracy of 99%, more accurate than other tests that use blood. These latter DNA tests have an accuracy of anywhere between 85-95%. The results for the test are available to the client in just 5-7 working days starting from when the samples are received at the laboratory. Asked to further explicate the advantages of the test, Sales and Marketing manager Andrew Alexander states
“whilst a gender test with blood requires that the expectant mother collect a blood sample by pricking the tip of a finger with a sharp, sterile instrument, our DNA test has not such unpleasant procedures. We only require a urine sample collected in a special cup we provide. Once collected, we direct the client to add a special solution we also provide to preserve the fetal DNA in the sample”.
Kits for the gender test in the UK are sent out from the company’s Kent office and received by the client in around two working days. All kits are sent out by courier with a prepaid return courier pouch for the client to return samples for testing. A company representative notes the importance of the timely receipt of samples at the lab further adding that “the kits have been made with our client’s needs in mind; we have ensured they are user friendly, with clear and easy-to-understand instructions and precautions”. The company also provides a consent form which the client needs to fill and return with the samples. This form is important under UK law as it gives authorization to easyDNA to test the sample provided.
KnowtheGender is being marketed in most of the markets where the company has a presence. However, the company has refrained from marketing this test in companies such as India and China for reasons of corporate social responsibility.
Mr. Alexander states “we are well aware that gender selection is a common practice in this country and this practice goes against our company ethics”.
The science behind gender testing with blood and urine samples is similar. easyDNA has however, strived to innovate on the more traditional blood test by creating a less invasive and more simple test to carry out. Both DNA tests use a method of DNA replication and amplification known as polymerase chain reaction. Further to this, easyDNA has had to fine-tune the procedure to be able to extract the fetal DNA present in the maternal blood sample. A laboratory scientist explains how fetal DNA is found in maternal blood stating that
“fetal cells die just like and other cells. These dead cells penetrate the placental blood barrier and end up circulating for a short time in the mother’s blood. The blood gets filtered by the kidneys and any fragments of fetal DNA get flushed out with urine. This test is the definitive test for those expectant moms and dads-to-be who want to know if they will have a baby boy or girl as early and as accurately as possible”.