Every expectant parent agrees that the main thing they want out of a pregnancy is a healthy child. But let’s be honest — most parents also have a secret preference for a boy or a girl.
Throughout history, many ideas and methods have been suggested and practiced to try to influence the gender of the child. From sexual positions to choosing what days to make an attempt, there are many options for couples to try.
All of the following methods are based around a common concept; that there’s a difference between Y-baring sperm and X-baring perm.
In the 1960s, Landrum B Shettles posited an idea that sperm with Y chromosomes (which produce males) and X chromosomes (which produce females) are inherently different. The Y chromosome sperm are faster, but more fragile. The X chromosomes are slower but hardier, able to better withstand the environment vagina and uterus for longer.
The methods listed below are all about trying to give either the Y or X chromosome sperm a better chance of reaching the egg. This is usually done by exploiting the speed of the Y sperm or the durability of the X sperm.
While Shettles created his Shettles Method of gender determination, this information was also used by Dr Ronald Ericsson to create the Ericsson method. Where the Shettles Method uses natural intercourse, the Ericsson method relies on artificial insemination. Can you choose the gender of your baby? That is the question that led Dr Ronald Ericsson and Landrum Shettles on a course of discovery and even more questions.
Let’s start with the Shettles Method!
Shettles Method of Gender Determination
Shettles’ method is actually a collection of factors couples need to take into consideration when trying to conceive a child. Each factor can be used to give an advantage to either the Y or X chromosome sperm.
Timing of Intercourse
The fundamental concept in the Shettles Method is timing. The closer to ovulation you conceive, the more likely it is to be a boy. Since the Y sperm are faster, they’ll reach the egg sooner and have a better chance of fertilizing it.
On the flip side, having intercourse 2-4 days prior to ovulation gives the X sperm a better chance of fertilization. Since the Y sperm are weaker, they’ll mostly die off before ovulation occurs. This leaves mostly X sperm left to fertilize the egg.
This latter method also means you’re trying to conceive outside of peak fertility times — which will decrease the overall chance of conception. While timing might be a good way to try for a boy, it will give you poor chances of a girl.
Ovulation can be tracked through charting or ovulation prediction kits.
Timing gets even more specific than just days in the cycle, however. It’s also proposed to have intercourse after 5 AM, and if you’re trying for a girl, 7 AM is the ideal time.
Position of Intercourse
The vagina has varying pH levels along its length, with the entrance being the more acidic.
Since the Y chromosome sperm is weak, it has less chance of surviving is sperm is deposited closer the entrance of the vagina. Conversely, since X chromosome sperm are slower, depositing sperm closer to the uterus will give the Y chromosomes a better chance.
For this reason, positions like doggy style, which allow for deeper penetration, are proposed for conceiving boys. Missionary is given as the position of choice if you’re trying to conceive a girl.
Female Orgasm in Gender Selection
If the woman orgasms before or at the same time as her partner, she increases the chance of having a boy. The waves of orgasm will help draw the sperm, giving those faster Y chromosome bearers an even better head start.
And, yes, unfortunately that means the woman should avoid orgasm to try to have a girl.
Putting it all together
So if you want a boy, have doggy-style sex early in the morning on the day of ovulation, and make sure the woman has one — or more! — orgasms. For a girl, have missionary sex every day after the period ends, then no sex from 2-4 days prior to ovulation to 2-3 days after. Preferably, the sex should be around 7AM. The woman should avoid having an orgasm during this time.
So the above elements of the Shettles Method involves two people engaging in physical intercourse. The Ericsson Method instead uses artificial insemination. Sperm is allowed to drain through a medium, which separates the “fast” Y sperm from the “slow” X sperm. If a boy is desired, the woman is inseminated with the Y sperm. Otherwise the X sperm are used.
Effectiveness of Gender Selection Methods
Full disclosure; none of the above techniques are scientifically proven 100%. The Shettles Method claims an 80-85% success rate for boys and 75-80% success rate for girls. The Ericsson Method claims similar numbers.
These claims have not been rigorously tested, however, and even if you trust the numbers, there’s room for “failure”! So while these methods might give you a better chance of a particular gender, don’t bank on it.