Gender Selection – A Concise Guide

When it comes to starting a family, it will quite possibly be the most significant decision that they could make for themselves. If fertility becomes something that impedes this desire, it can become heartbreaking and overwhelming, but when you know what options you have available to you, it makes the process significantly more comfortable.

If you’re wanting to conceive a child, trying to determine the gender of a child can be driven by a few reasons, the biggest one revolving around the health of the child. Attempting to negate heritable diseases isn’t foolproof, but it can be tried through a few different methods of conception. These diseases, like Duchene muscular dystrophy and hemophilia and chromosomal-caused autism, by gendering a child in one gender over another can help to negate the chances of the child inheriting those diseases. Many couples who are trying to conceive and are having difficulty should reach out to a physician to determine the best process for them and to discuss the risks involved. Here’s is a concise overview of a few methods that are out there to help increase the chances of both having a child and selecting gender if you desire.

The Shettles Method

This is one of the few methods that can be done almost entirely at home and at no cost, but medical experts insist that this is by no means conclusive. Popularized in the 1960s, Dr. Landrum Shettles created this method based upon two critical hypotheses: that one, Y sperm are faster but more fragile than X sperm and two, that acidic environments can harm or kill Y sperm. By leveraging these two factors, you can make the possibility of conception for one sex or another more likely. The Shettles method can be used provided that, natural conception is possible. You can incorporate these steps into your sexual interactions reasonably easily. The easiest utilization of this method for conception is based on timing. The closer to ovulation that intercourse takes place, the higher the likelihood of conceiving a boy, according to Shettles’s theory. The other factor is this theory focuses on the environment of the vagina. Shettles also believed that repeated female orgasms can increase the chances of having a girl.

The Ericsson Method

The Ericsson method is similar to the Shettles method, building solely on the idea that Y sperm is faster than X sperm. Created by Dr. Ronald Ericsson in the mid-1970s, the process has become known as “sperm spinning.” The sperm sample is taken from the male and spun in a solution that helps to separate the slower sperm from the faster. If the theory is correct, then this would divide the male sperm from the female sperm. This sperm is placed directly into the mother to fertilize the egg for conception. Proponents of this method claim a success rate into the high 70 percentile, but experts have a hard time confirming these rates as Ericsson patented this method, obscuring the process that is used. This procedure is done in an office, the entire process taking about four hours in total, on the mother’s expected ovulation date. These procedures are reasonably inexpensive overall, ranging between $600 to $1200 per round, not including consultation fees. It’s also a fairly standard procedure, widely available, but only performed by specific locations. You can find certified locations for this method at but should consult a medical professional before a further inquiry.

Sperm Sorting

Sperm sorting is a method that was introduced in the 1980s by Dr. Glenn Spaulding, that uses dye and lasers to illuminate the DNA within the sperm. In this way, they can identify the X and Y chromosomes, allowing for the opportunity to choose based on the DNA. There are a few options based on this method: centrifugation, flow cytometry, and magnetic-activation cell sorting. If gender is less of a desire over simply conception, the magnetic-activation cell sorting method sorts out sperm with fragmented DNA, increasing the number of viable sperm and weeding out potential genetic abnormalities. Sperm sorting generally comes as an accompaniment with artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization, increasing the cost of these conceiving methods. On average, the price per round would be somewhere in the $3200 range, not including the cost of consultations. Many parents will have to undergo multiple rounds, increasing the overall price.

Artificial Insemination

Artificial insemination and in-virto fertilization are the most widely known methods of conceiving assistance for hopeful parents. Artificial insemination pertains to the process of manually inserting sperm into a uterus to facilitate pregnancy. This method is used when infertility is caused by male-factor infertility, unexpected fertility, and the need to use donor sperm to get pregnant. The two main methods for artificial insemination are intrauterine (IUI) and intracervical (ICI). ICI could be performed either in-office or at home, depending on the needs, and consist of implanting sperm directly into the cervix. This method is less conducive to accompany the sperm sorting methods stated previously, and the IUI method is recommended. The IUI method inserts the sperm directly into the uterus and must be performed in-office. For artificial insemination, the cost ranges from $400 to 1500 for the insertion itself, while other elements would increase the price of the procedure.

In-Vitro Fertilization

This is the counterpart to artificial insemination, with the process focusing on removing both the egg and the sperm to introduce them in a controlled environment. In-vitro fertilization occurs in-office, taking multiple steps — and something a course of a few days to complete all steps in the process. They can accomplish this by extracting the egg, retrieving a sperm sample and then introducing both components (sorted or spun if needed) in a laboratory environment. Because of this any method that calls for controlled environment in an attempt to sway gender can be used. This method is used when factors for interruption of conception involve ovulation problems, fallopian tube removal, unexplained infertility and individuals with genetic disorders that impede conception, for women and male-factor infertility, and the need to use donor sperm to get pregnant. These procedures, however, cost a great deal, sometimes running into the tens of thousands of dollars to cover every aspect of the process, sometimes needing to have multiple rounds of IVF before an implanted egg takes.

While becoming pregnant in itself can seem like a feat, some situations allow for a more deft hand at having a child. When heritable diseases, or even the potential for some, are a factor, a parent wants to do what they can to spare their child any such burden. There are a few methods at your fingertips, spanning from the less invasive and more controversial methods like the Shettle and Ericsson methods to IVF and artificial insemination. By inquiring with a medical professional and understanding what methods will best work for their situation, a couple can make the best reproductive and financial decision for them and their growing family.