WMBF News Investigates: Pink or Blue?

By Danner Evans - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - We're adding a new member to our news team. Evening anchor Danner Evans is adding a new member to her family.

On Oct. 25, Danner and her husband are expecting their first child. It's also the first baby to be born into your new WMBF News family, too, so there is a lot of excitement at home and at work.

This week Danner is 17 weeks pregnant, just shy of 4 1/2 months, and she gets one question all the time, "Is it a boy or a girl?"

There is a blood test that promises with 95 percent accuracy to tell you long before a doctor would be able to. In a WMBF News investigation, we set out to see if Pink or Blue is all it claims.

The nesting in the nursery began for Kerri Richmond as soon as she found out she was having a girl through an ultrasound.

"The sooner the better for me," Richmond gushed. "I wanted to set up everything in advance, make it as girly or boy as possible."

But Richmond says she would have jumped at the chance to find out sooner.

That's what Consumer Genetics "Pink or Blue" test promises - to tell you if it's a boy or a girl as early as seven weeks into your pregnancy. You have to wait until your 16-20 weeks along with a traditional ultrasound.

They boast a 95 percent success rate, but it comes with a hefty price tag: $175. So is it worth it?

Kerri is one of two women we invited to take the test who already knew her baby's sex. Molly Balfour is the other. We felt including their results would help establish our own non-scientific baseline for accuracy.

The other three volunteers were still too early on in their pregnancies to find out. Megan Dupuy was 14 weeks. Aimee Goodson and Karen Green were both nine weeks.

"This is my first pregnancy, and I'm just excited," Dupuy said. "It doesn't matter to me if I'm having a girl or boy, I just want a healthy baby."

Green added, "We got a heartbeat two weeks ago, having a sex to it makes it seem a lot more real."

The test involves three steps: a finger prick, blood collection and then blotting the blood on a card until at least three circles are filled.

The maker is very insistent on one thing - there can be no male DNA in the vicinity when the test is taken. Men are not allowed in the room where our volunteers took their test as a simple cough could get male DNA in the air and contaminate the sample, putting the accuracy of the test in question.

Evans also is one of our volunteers.

Once the fingers are pricked, the volunteers had to fill three of the four circles on the test sheet with their blood samples. The paper is dried, mailed to Consumer Genetics, and the results are available online or by email in three to five days.

How does it all work? Consumer Genetics says it's able to detect small amounts of male DNA in the blood. If the test is not contaminated, the only way you'd have male DNA in your blood is if you are carrying a baby boy.

It's a process Dr. Kenneth Spielvogel with Coastal Grande Obstetrics and Gynecology said has merit.

"It's an interesting test in that the technology was created for the diagnoses of Y-based chromosome disorders," Spielvogel explained. But Spielvogel isn't impressed with the test's accuracy, at least in his own experience. "I know of three patients who have taken it, and I know about it because the results were not in concordance with their ultra sound."

So what about our test group? Aimee Goodson, Megan Dupuy and Karen Green all got their tests back. It shows pink for Goodson and blue for Dupuy and Green.

However, during their 20 week ultrasound, Goodson and Dupuy found out the genetic test is wrong. At this point it's still too early for an ultrasound screening for Green.

As for Molly Balfour, at 36 weeks she's already had both an amnio and ultrasound before taking the Pink or Blue Test. The test showed "blue."

"The test is right," Balfour exclaimed. "He's a boy."

The ultrasound showed Richmond was having a girl. Pink or Blue agreed.

As for Evans, Pink or Blue said one sex, but Spielvogel, in an early screening thinks it's the other. She'll know for sure at her check up on June 2.

Our unscientific test is 2 for 4 with two of the volunteers who still don't have the 20-week ultrasound.

As for the results we do have, it's important to note the company tells you on their website that there is 5 percent margin of error and that there are factors like DNA contamination during blood collection that can affect the outcome of the test.

They do promise your money back though if their test is wrong.

©2009 WMBF News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.