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Many will recall with amusement how a world-class athlete was suspended by his sports federation after a routine drug test indicated that he was pregnant. While there is no prohibition on athletes being pregnant, this man was suspended because he defrauded the process by submitting for testing a urine sample from his girlfriend who was, indeed, pregnant and who learned about it only when the drug test results were revealed.

It is believed that the athlete could have gotten away with the bogus test if his girlfriend had not been pregnant because the urine donor’s gender is not easily determined by such drug tests. Pregnancy, on the other hand, is very easily determined by the presence of characteristic high levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone in the urine of any pregnant woman. It was the pregnancy, and not anything else that gave the fraud away.

Why test for gender?

It is not uncommon for expecting parents to have serum samples from the pregnant mother tested to determine the gender of the baby in the womb. While the gender of a child in gestation has no real impact on the health of the mother or on the safe delivery of the baby, knowing the gender is often regarded as important for other reasons.

Many parents feel the need to know whether they are having a boy or girl child for purposes of planning the child’s clothing, room décor color scheme, room sharing arrangements with siblings, or even the child’s future.

In the case of gender testing among adults, especially in the employment sector, there is a whole web of legality, political correctness, confidentiality issues, and human rights to wrangle with. State laws may vary, but the general policy prohibits gender testing while conducting the usual pre-employment drug tests.

Employers might ask their service laboratories; can urine drug tests determine gender? The simple answer is that drug tests test for drugs, and not gender. If there is ever a good legal need to determine gender, then a more complicated gender-based test is available. In such cases, written consent must be given by the test subject.

The prohibition on pre-employment gender screening is no longer an issue of avoiding sexual discrimination due to issues like glass ceilings, prejudice, and the like; but is more founded on preventing employers from discovering the actual biological gender of the person which could be in conflict with his or her preferred or self-identified gender.

Can Urine Drug Tests Determine Gender?

The gender of the child can be determined during advanced stages of pregnancy by viewing the fetal genitals through ultrasound. But can urine drug tests determine gender? There is no simple answer to this one because the urine tests currently available on the market do not claim total accuracy and go as far as to state that they are “for entertainment purposes only.” They claim 50 percent accuracy — which is comically absurd considering that the chances of predicting one gender outcome is already 50 percent, test or no test. Laboratories do have means of determining gender using DNA-based gender predictors, but these use maternal blood samples.

Can gender switched urine samples be busted?

Offhand, a person might be able to get away with substituting a urine test sample with that of the opposite sex if certain conditions are not present, the foremost of which is pregnancy. Some laboratory personnel, however, dispute this statement and claim they can tell male urine and female urine apart by color, amount of iron, and some other characteristics.

But why would people even wonder if urine drug tests can determine gender? Perhaps this might conceivably be a question one would ask if they wanted to try to pull a fast one at the lab. A drug user, for instance, might hope that using a woman’s urine would be less likely to reveal a positive drug test result. However, even if they might get away with it, it is not a good idea to attempt to falsify anything of this sort because drug testing is a serious matter which has legal implications even as it raises many questions.

Learn more about such questions and their prospective answers by checking out Ovus Medical for scientifically written articles of interest to organizations looking into drug testing for their personnel.

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