Victoria and David Beckham's Ultrasound Switcheroo: How Often Does That Happen?

For a few weeks, everyone's favorite clan of gorgeous Beckham boys was reportedly about to increase its ranks by one. Then after we had all gotten used to the idea of another tiny Brit with a super cool name, ultrasounds two and three revealed that the Beckhams are actually having a girl. Crazy!
  
How often does that happen? Apparantly pretty frequently: Up to 18 percent of these tests are inconclusive and as many as 15 percent are flat-out wrong. New 3D and even 4D scans (we’re not exactly sure what the fourth dimension is; umami?) have better accuracy rates than the older 2D models, but even then the odds of getting a bogus result are pretty high until about the midway point (19 to 20 weeks). Regardless of where a mom-to-be is on the gestational journey, only the more invasive (we’re talking needles here, people) tests like amniocenteses and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) can make a definitive call.
 
Apparently wrong-sex reads are more common with girls (after all, if the tech sees anything remotely phallic down there, it’s probably a penis; if she doesn’t, the little male member could just be well, little, or hiding behind a blubbery leg roll). It happened to my sister: It’s a girl, her medical team told her, over and over and over. This is a woman who was born with an invisible tattoo reading “measure twice, cut once” on her forehead.  But they were positive, so she outfitted her soon-to-be daughter’s nursery in a rainbow of pinks and stocked up on frilly frocks and lacy socks and tiny rosette-studded headbands (in case the kid didn’t have enough hair to hold the coordinating barrettes). You can imagine her shock when after howling through that final heaving push the first words she heard her husband utter were, “Um, so why does she have a penis?”

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