Posted on July 6th, 2017 by
I’ve received questions lately regarding where to find fetal sex or gender in an ultrasound report. Can you always find this information in a report?
The short answer? No, not always.
Actually, we mostly do not record fetal sex, and it’s mostly not important to your doc. Typically, fetal sex is not pertinent information to the examination. Though parents may desire it, physicians don’t need this determination to manage your care and that of your baby if both are healthy. The above is true for most general OB practitioners in the US. However, every physician practices a little differently, and one can certainly dictate if he or she wants this info on all patient reports (if possible to determine). The case may be different if you are seeing a high-risk OB doc, aka a perinatologist. Their reports consist of much greater detail and may possibly include a fetal sex/gender guess.

Example of a Blank Report

In the images of a sample report taken from a monitor, you’ll notice there is a whole host of blanks to fill, but fetal sex is not one of them. On the first page where you see Sex: Other, this refers to the patient. Patient demographics were not entered here, so the Sex option defaulted to Other. We always include your LMP or EDC/EDD – aka baby due date. The larger blue space would be filled with fetal measurements, estimates of gestational age, and fetal weight as they are obtained.

OB ultrasound report

OB ultrasound report
In the pages above, you’ll note the list of fetal organs and structures we attempt to document on a mid-pregnancy anatomy screen. We only fill out the section called BPP in the 3rd Trimester when your doc orders this particular examination. And the CVP is usually only filled out when performing a Fetal Echo or detailed heart examination.

Exception to the Rule

There always seems to be at least one exception to every rule. Because the responsibility of a sonographer is to search out structural malformations, we also have to report suspicions of abnormal external genitalia. In other circumstances, we may see particular abnormalities that we might group together, as in the case of certain syndromes. Sometimes, knowing fetal sex helps physicians either support or rule out a particular chromosomal or structural problem. Some of these are gender specific. In the pic below, we have a designated space on a Comments page to expound on our findings. We can add fetal sex here if we feel it is pertinent information to the findings.
OB ultrasound report
In some countries, fetal sex is neither reported nor discussed with parents due to the cultural preference of one sex over another. And some facilities are beginning to incorporate policies against providing parents with this news due to litigious reasons. Unfortunately, such is life in the good ol’ US. Facilities want to limit their liability for guessing incorrectly by simply not allowing their sonographers to guess at all.
So, if you don’t want to know your baby’s sex (or even if you do!), don’t expect your ultrasound report to disclose that information. Your sonographer creates the images and report. We only include what is needed and leave out what is not!
Best wishes for happy and healthy!
wwavblogger, RDMS
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Posted on February 4th, 2015 by

I love it when patients call in to the office to schedule their anatomy screening and try to tell us their doctor wants the scan a week or two earlier than we KNOW they want it! I know most of you are a little smarter than that..alas, there are always a few who are not.

Each doctor has a designated time in your pregnancy when he/she feels gestational age is optimal for this test. Since we are discussing the practice of medicine, mind you, it’s important to note that all doctors practice a little differently but should do so within the same standard of care.  So as that applies to this examination, most docs will request you to have this exam performed between 18 and 20wks or thereabouts. As I’ve mentioned before, Baby is just big enough to see most organs well at this point with most patients.

For example, we know in our office that Drs. A, B, C and D will request this exam at 18wks or so. Dr. E will always request it at 20wks and asking for it at 19 will be like twisting her arm. Honestly, scanning a little later most always gives us a better look at fetal anatomy but Drs. A and C don’t feel like arguing this point with patients who are trying to plan the gender reveal party so they will allow their patients to come in at 18wks. Drs. B and D are easy going so they’ll schedule it whenever.

Recently, a patient calls in and says Dr. E told her she could have the scan at 18. Hmmm, really now. However it happened, she was scheduled for the exam. As I’m looking through this patient’s chart, I notice she had a dating scan earlier in her pregnancy that changed her due date..she was only 15wks! Needless to say, after conferring with Dr. E’s nurse, the exam was cancelled and the patient was furious…even though she knew she was too early for the examination. She simply elected to not divulge her true gestational age when making her I or her doctor  wouldn’t notice??

My job not only entails scanning Baby for abnormalities at an appropriate time that they can be diagnosed but to also confirm the order by the physician and to ensure the exam is performed within the specified time frame in which the physician orders it.

“I don’t care. I just want to know the gender.” Well, your insurance company cares and they are not going to pay for it twice.

And for the 8,462nd time in my career, we will never confirm gender at 15wks. I’ll probably say it another 8,462 times before I retire!

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