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Choosing Your Baby's Gender

Have you always dreamed of sharing everything with a little girl? Or has a little boy always been in your mind? Many couples have strong feelings about which gender they prefer before they even get pregnant. While many see sex selection as a slippery slope into genetically-engineered children, others point to valid health or personal reasons for selecting for a boy or girl. For instance, you may carry a sex-specific genetic defect (such as hemophilia or Duchenne's muscular dystrophy) and want to avoid passing it to your baby. There are several expensive, high-tech methods to help select your baby's gender before conception; however, there are also a number of low-tech and inexpensive - but considerably less reliable - methods you can try at home.

Most gender-selection methods rely on the theory that male sperm swim faster but don't survive as long, while female sperm swim more slowly but live longer. The following techniques each claim a high rate of success; however, scientific studies have been unable to confirm them and most experts agree that their actual success rates are too close to the 50-50 chance you have naturally, making them ineffective predictors.

The Whelan Method

The Whelan method was developed by Elizabeth Whelan, Sc. D., M.P.H., and advises you to have sex four to six days before your basal body temperature spikes if you want to conceive a boy, and two to three days before you ovulate if you want a girl.

Followers of the Whelan Method claim an accuracy rate of 68 percent for boys and 57 percent for girls.

The Shettles Method

The Shettles Method contradicts the Whelan Method by recommending having sex as close as possible to ovulation to conceive a boy and having sex two to four days before you ovulate to conceive a girl.

According to the Shettles Method, shallow penetration, such as from the missionary position, will deposit the sperm closer to the entrance of the vagina, which is more acidic and will inhibit the male sperm and give you a better chance of conceiving a girl. If you're trying for a boy, you should orgasm before your partner ejaculates because the resulting chemical changes in your vagina make the environment more alkaline, which assists male sperm.

If you are trying to conceive a boy, your partner should drink a caffeinated beverage right before sex to stimulate the male sperm. He should also wear loose-fitting boxers and trousers to increase sperm count.

Other Methods

Here are some superstitions and old wives' tales to help you select the sex of your baby:

If you want a girl...

  • Wait to conceive until you are older. Younger couples tend to have boys.
  • Have sex frequently to decrease your partner's sperm count and increase the chance of a female sperm reaching your egg.
  • Drink lots of milk and mineral water, eat dairy products such as cheese and yogurt, rice and pasta, and limit your intake of meat and potatoes.
  • Avoid salty foods, wine and beer, fresh fruit, spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms, chocolate, coffee and tea.
  • You should initiate the love-making.
  • Have sex in the afternoon.
  • Have sex only on even days of the month.
  • Put a wooden spoon under your bed and a pink ribbon under your pillow.
  • Have sex during a full moon.
If you want a boy...
  • You should eat a lot of vegetables, with the exception of cress, lettuce, raw cabbage, spinach, and cauliflower.
  • Your partner should initiate the love-making.
  • Have sex only at night.
  • Have sex only on odd days of the month.
  • Have sex during the quartermoon.
  • Have sex with your head pointing north.



Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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