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Subject: misc.kids FAQ on Choosing Your Baby's Sex

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:59 GMT

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Archive-name: misc-kids/pregnancy/babys-sex
Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-Modified: July 11, 1996 This is the misc.kids / misc.kids.pregnancy FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file "Choosing Your Baby's Sex FAQ." TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.1 Copyright Notice, Authorship, Disclaimer, and Legal Sludge in General 1.2 What's This FAQ About? 1.3 Where Did This FAQ Come From? 2.1 Summary of Shettles Methods 2.2 A Note About Overall Fertility 3.1 Original Call for FAQ Answers 3.2 Summary of Responses to Call for FAQ Answers 3.3 Individual Responses to Call for FAQ Answers, plus Miscellaneous Posts on this Subject 3.4 The Hunts' "Shettles Success Story" 1.1 COPYRIGHT NOTICE, AUTHORSHIP, DISCLAIMER, AND LEGAL SLUDGE IN GENERAL Copyright 1996, Roger A. Hunt. Use and copying of this information are permitted as long as (1) no fees or compensation are charged for use, copies or access to this information, and (2) this copyright notice is included intact. Authorship: This FAQ is compiled and maintained by Roger Hunt -- semi-frequent misc.kids and misc.kids.pregnancy contributor; college professor of geography and planning (*not* of biology, although I do specialize in fertility, contraception, and medical geography); AND spouse for one wife, dad for three kids (the last of whom is a "Shettles success- story" - with a twist! - see Sec. 3.4 below). Whenever you see the "I" "me" "my" references in this FAQ, they usually refer to me, Roger -- except in Sec. 3.3, of course. Disclaimer: This is information collected from many sources and while I have tried to be accurate and complete, I cannot guarantee that I have succeeded. This is not medical advice. For that, see your doctor or other health care provider. 1.2 WHAT'S THIS FAQ ABOUT? For a long time now (tens of thousands of years would be my guess), people have wanted to know if it's possible to influence the sex of a baby before conception. Just as it's natural that the first question your family and friends ask upon hearing about a new baby is often "Boy or girl?" -- it's also natural that you and/or your partner would wonder "How can we influence whether the baby we conceive is a boy or a girl?" This FAQ is an attempt at answering this basic question. Based on the sources in section 1.3 below, there is some evidence that you can alter the odds. Instead of a near-50/50 "roll of the dice," you may be able to increase the odds in favor of conceiving either a girl or a boy to as high as 80 percent, or as low as 50.0001 percent (depending on whom you believe, as outlined below.) BIG FAT WARNING, though: Scientific tests, other than those of Shettles himself and his associates, do not at this point establish that the Shettles methods (or any others) are valid. In fact, there are purportedly studies showing that trying the Shettles techniques may increase your odds of conceiving the OTHER sex! -- though finding these studies seems to be an elusive task. In any event, be forewarned. 1.3 WHERE DID THIS FAQ COME FROM? It is primarily based on three sources: a) A summary of the most recent edition of the premier book on this subject: _How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby_, by Dr. Landrum B. Shettles, MD, and David M. Rorvik, copyright 1989.** NOTE: I *strongly* recommend that you read Shettles' book all the way through before trying the methods outlined herein. b) Responses to a "call for FAQ information" posted several times on misc.kids and misc.kids.pregnancy during September and October, 1995. c) Various independently-posted items during 1995- 1996 on misc.kids and misc.kids.pregnancy. ** The full citation for Sheetles' book is as follows: Shettles, Landrum B. (M.D., Ph.D.), and Rorvik, David M. (1989) _How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby: The Method Best Supported by the Scientific Evidence (newly-revised edition). New York: Doubleday. 229 pp. ISBN: 0-385-24442-8 (trade paperback). (My copy, bought in April 1996, sold for $12.95 US or $16.95 Canadian - RAH). Concerning part (b) above: In the process of deciding whether and how my wife and I should proceed with having our 3rd baby, I asked for others' experiences with methods, both Dr. Shettles' techniques and others, concerning choosing your baby's sex. The question I asked was if any method or methods were successful in improving the odds of getting either a boy or a girl. After getting some encouraging responses (many of which are reproduced anonymously below), and after seeing others post the same question, I thought it was time for a FAQ. So I posted my original "call for FAQ information," Section 3.1 below. Also, for those interested in a summarized (but still thorough) rendering of Shettles' methods, an excellent resource is Toni Weschler's 1995 book _Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement_. Chapter 17, titled "Choosing the Sex of Your Baby," is a good synopsis of Shettles. Not incidentally, this book is also the single best source I know about for fertility-realted information in general. 2.1 SUMMARY OF SHETTLES METHODS The following summary of the methods outlined in Dr. Shettles' book is based partly on an excellent summary posted by misc.kids.pregnancy contributor Ana Silva in September 1995, and partly on my modifications. Thanks for permission, Ana! --------- BEGIN SHETTLES SUMMARY --------- Basically, men produce two types of sperms, the X (female) and Y (male). According to Dr. Shettles' studies the y-sperms are smaller, weaker, but faster than their sibling x-sperms, which are bigger, stronger, but slower. Based on this fact, there are several things you can do to "favor" the conception of boys or girls: (1) The most important aspect of all is timing of intercourse during the monthly cycle. The closer to ovulation you have sex, the better the chances to have a boy, because the y-sperms are faster and tend to get to the egg first. If you have sex 3 days or more before ovulation, the better your chances to conceive a girl, because the weaker y-sperms tend to die sooner and the x-sperms will be available in greater quantity whenever the egg is released. On the other hand, having sex from 2 days before ovulation, through a few days after ovulation, is better for conceiving a boy. Around the 2-day point -- 48 hours before ovulation -- seems to be the 50/50 mark. (For those with a precise turn of mind, Shettles clarifies even further [p. 187]: from zero to 24 hours before ovulation, intercourse is more likey to result in a boy; from 24 to 96 hours before, a girl is more likely; and the further away from that 24- hour dividing line in either direction, the better the odds.) (2) Position of intercourse and depth of penetration are important, partly because of acidity/alkalinity of the woman's reproductive tract (see sec. (6) below). The closer to the entrance to the vagina, the more acidic the pH of women's tract. Also, deep penetration places the sperm closer to the egg, and gives those aggressive boy sperms a head start :-). So, a shallow penetration will favor girls and a deeper will favor boys. Shettles recommends missionary-position for a girl, and rear-entry (dog- style) for a boy. (3) Women's orgasms can also be important. This also has to do with pH. When a woman has an orgasm, the body releases a substance that makes the environment more alkaline, favoring boys. Shettles recommends no female orgasms when trying for girls! (4) The sperm count is another factor. Obviously, a low sperm count to begin with doesn't favor either sex. But a high sperm count favors boys. Shettles recommends three things: (a) When trying for a boy, the man should not have an ejaculation for 3 days before reaching the target date a day or two before ovulation. (Intercourse earlier than 3 days before ovulation should be with a condom only.) For girls, have sex every day from the first day after your period ends, and stop 3 days before ovulation. (No intercourse even with a condom during that time.) (b) Shettles recommends that for boys, the man wear loose underwear only -- that is, men who usually wear briefs or other tight underwear should switch to boxers. The idea is the same as wearing boxers to increase overall fertility -- the testicles need cooler temperatures for sperms to survive, and the Y- sperms, since they are weaker, will be helped more than the X-sperms by this method. However, Shettles does NOT recommend the opposite, that men wear briefs for a girl -- this will just decrease overall fertility. (c) Also, for a girl, the man is supposed to take a hot bath immediately before intercourse. "Room temperature" is fine for a boy. The idea is the same as the briefs versus boxers -- give the X- sperms an advantage. (5) In trying for a boy, Shettles recommends a nice cup of caffeinated coffee for the man, right before intercourse -- he isn't clear on how or why this works, but apparently it gives the Y-sperms a jolt! (6) Concerning douching and the pH of the women's reproductive tract: A more acidic environment favors girls, since it will kill the weaker y-sperms first, leaving a greater quantity of x-sperms available to fertilize the egg. On the other hand, a more alkaline environment favors boys. (Note: Some women are naturally very acidic and have a hard time conceiving boys.) Shettles *formerly* recommended two douching-methods (involving vinegar or baking soda) to help alter vaginal pH. However, in the most recent update (c. 1989) of his book, he no longer recommends douching at all. His comment (pp. 179-180) is that one can get equally-good results with or without the douches recommended earlier. (Because many on the newsgroups who responded in Sec. 3.3 below were using the older versions of Shettles' book, there are a number of anecdotes including the use of douches as well as other Shettles methods. It's important to emphasize that, although it won't do any harm if done properly, Shettles no longer recommends douching as part of his methods. He does strongly recommend that nobody begin douching, for *any* reason, without consulting her health-care provider.) Well, these are the big ones. Read the book for other details. If you can determine the time of ovulation and follow the rules presented in his book, Dr. Shettles claims a success rate of 70-75% for girls and 75-80% for boys (better than the "normal" 50%). As you see, it's not 100%!!! Also, Shettles recommends a "practice" period of 3-6 months, to make sure the couple has all the techniques down properly. --------- END SHETTLES SUMMARY ----------- 2.2 A NOTE ABOUT OVERALL FERTILITY Many of Shettles' methods are also valid (and scientifically accepted) methods for increasing or decreasing overall fertility. It's beyond the scope of this FAQ to cover all aspects of fertility, but paying attention to the following elements is certainly relevant: * A key to increasing fertility overall is charting time of ovulation during every monthly cycle. The three most common methods for determining ovulation are: (1) charting basal body temperature (BBT); (2) charting changes in cervical mucus; and/or (3) using an ovulation test-kit. There are many good resources for obtaining information on all these methods, and on increasing fertility in general. * Regarding sex selection in particular, it is beyond question that having sex very close to the time of ovulation is an important way to increase the overall odds for conception. Other methods that are known to increase odds for conception include: deep penetration at the time of ejaculation; for women, having an orgasm together with or following the man's orgasm; for men, wearing boxers instead of briefs; and for men, avoiding hot baths or hot tubs. * As you'll note, all of these also correspond with methods that favor boys, according to Shettles. In fact, he cautions that conceiving a girl may take considerably longer than conceiving a boy, *and* may take longer than conceiving using no techniques at all. The Point: If you have trouble conceiving in general, or think you might have such trouble, the techniques for choosing a girl baby might not be for you -- unless you're willing to be patient! [NOTE: I also compiled and maintain a FAQ on low-tech ways to help you conceive -- i.e., what you can do at home, before you seek medical advice. It is posted monthly (in multiple parts) on the same newsgroups as this FAQ, plus alt.infertility and misc.health.infertility, and is also available on the Web at http://www.pinelandpress.com/support/lowtechfertilityfaq.html or by emailing me. 3.1 ORIGINAL CALL FOR FAQ ANSWERS Here is the text of my original call: "Please let me hear from you! I (we) would like to know your experience with the following: "1. Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with any pregnancy, in advance of conception? "2. Did you try any (or all) of the techniques outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book? If so, which ones? Please describe. "3. Did you try any other techniques besides those in the Shettles book? "4. Did you get pregnant as a result? What gender was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)? "5. Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other) methods presented any difficulties for you or your partner? Please describe. "6. Overall, would you say you were satisfied with the whole thing? (Did you get the "outcome" that you wanted?) "7. Any other comments? "And, a few procedural things: "Feel free to e-mail me with your answers. I know some of this is kinda personal, so I promise to anonymize all the responses before I save them for the FAQ (strip out headers, change any names in the body of the text, and all that, per usual FAQ procedure.) You can even send me your e-mail anonymously if you know how to do that. "You can also post to either misc.kids or misc.kids.pregnancy, and I'll save any responses I see to this thread on either group. BUT: E-mail is preferable! to help our already high-traffic groups stay manageable in size." 3.2 SUMMARY OF RESPONSES TO CALL FOR FAQ ANSWERS Overall, the experience on misc.kids and misc.kids.pregnancy has tended to be more positive than negative. Overall, the responses to date indicate that around 70 percent of all "tries" or outcomes resulted in a "success -- a baby of the desired gender! This is a small and definitely NON- random sample, and all *could* have been due to chance, of course; nevertheless this unscientific survey seems to indicate that Shettles' claims have some validity. By far the most commonly used method was the timing of intercourse. Nearly everyone who responded used this method, and most had successful results with it. The second-most common technique was the position and/or depth of intercourse, which was also successful according to responses -- in fact, the position/depth was the most successful technique of all, proportionally, in obtaining the desired baby! The other Shettles techniques were tried less than five times, so generalizations have to be more cautious. However, all three techniques produced more successful than unsuccessful outcomes. Here are some summary statistics: 22 = Total individuals responses to date 27 = Total "outcomes" -- i.e., total of all conceptions by those who tried any of the Shettles techniques, or any other sex-selection technique(s) NOTE: Some folks who responded hadn't tried Shettles; some tried Shettles multiple times; and some reported friends' Shettles tries! Therefore, all the statistics below are based on number of outcomes, not number of people. 22+ 5 = Number of outcomes that were successful (a baby or babies of the sex wanted) + number of outcomes that were unsuccessful 20+ 6 = Number of successful + unsuccessful outcomes including the following Shettles method: timing of intercourse 1+ 1 = Number of successful + unsuccessful outcomes including the following Shettles method: acidic / alkaline douching 7+ 1 = Number of successful + unsuccessful outcomes including the following Shettles method: position of intercourse / depth of penetration 4+ 1 = Number of successful + unsuccessful outcomes including the following Shettles method: orgasm / no orgasm for woman 5+ 0 = Number of successful + unsuccessful outcomes including the following Shettles method: hot bath / boxers for man 1+ 0 = Number of successful + unsuccessful outcomes including the following Shettles method: coffee for man 3.3 INDIVIDUAL RESPONSES TO CALL FOR FAQ ANSWERS, PLUS MISCELLANEOUS POSTS ON THIS SUBJECT NOTE: Most of these are actual responses to my call for FAQ answers; a few are posts on misc.kids and/or misc.kids.pregnancy. I have made no changes except to strip out all identifying information, plus a few minor formatting changes. Each response is separated by a row of plus-signs. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ It can be done. The 'technique' uses the basis premise that the y sperms are fast and mobile and the x sperms are less mobile, but more long-lasting. So, the deal is that the closer that you can time intercourse to the time of ovulation, the better chances you have of having a boy. Because the little boy sperms are going to swim right up there, and get there first. But, if you time intercourse for a few days BEFORE ovulation, the little boy sperms have all swum their hearts out and are dead. But the little girl sperms are meandering their way up the vagina/fallopian tubes, and so when ovulation occurs, they're there. I'll tell you my experience. My first child was a girl, and what they call, 'an accident.' I had been taking precautions, but obviously, not good enough. Those 'little girl' sperms stayed around long enough to do the deed. But with my second child, I wanted a boy, to round out the family. So, I got this book, and followed their advice. Fortunately, for me, after my first pregnancy, my periods regulated themselves so that I could almost tell, precisely, when I was actually ovulating, with the mucous excretions, and such. So, for my boy, we timed intercourse to match EXACTLY with those signs. And lo and behold, we had a boy. In trying for a girl, it's a little more tricky. You have to time intercourse for about three days BEFORE ovulation. That way, the little boy sperms will have died, but the little girls will still be around. Hey, it's worth a shot. It worked, for me. But get the book and read what those doctors say. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Funny you should ask. When we decided to go ahead with number three, we thought it would be fun to 'try' for a boy. A friend recommended <the Shettles> book. I checked it out of the library. It outlines methods to try for a boy or girl, mostly based on timing. The book claims 80% effectivness. We fall in the 20% noneffective, which is perfectly fine, I love little girls! :) There are also ovulation kits you can buy OTC, which claim to be able to try for a particular gender. BTW, I have this theory that the more children that a couple has of one particular gender, the greater likelihood that subsequent children will also be of that gender. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Yes, I read Shettles book and was going to try for a girl. We were using Natural Family Planning (sort of) and weren't really trying to conceive, but did. I did chart many signs though and can relay them for your study. We had intercourse 5 days before my temperature rose (girl). I did not say "ovulated" because it is hard to say exactly when ovulation occurred. We did it from behind (boy) and I did not orgasm (girl). We did not have intercourse again for about a week and used a condom. We had a baby boy. According to Shettles, I think it should have been a girl. My friend also uses Natural Family Planning, and used her temp and mucous to have intercourse 2 days before ovulation, hoping for a girl. She is having a boy. (I do not know any of her other signals.) I would be interested to know if anyone had luck/experience using a douche. I have heard of these for either boys or girls. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ >7. Any other comments? I was not trying for any sex in particular, but we had intercourse and conceived either on or shortly after ovulation. We had a boy so this supports what Shettles says about timing. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ >1. Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with any pregnancy, in advance of conception? We very much wanted a girl. >2. Did you try any (or all) of the techniques outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book? If so, which ones? Please describe. We pretty much tried to do all of them: timing (I think it was two days prior to ovulation - oh, and I "charted" BBT for about three months before we started "trying"); position (shallow penetration); no orgasm for me. I didn't do a douche, and my diet tends toward "pro-girl" (dairy, beans, etc.) anyway. There's another book about selecting your baby's gender, written by <Sally Langedoen and William Proctor>. Basically the diet thing is related to the pH factor and is pretty simple: for a girl, lots of legumes and dairy, and for a boy, more meat and salt. >3. Did you try any other techniques besides those in the Shettles book? see above. we also, at the crucial moment, said "Think GIRL!" >4. Did you get pregnant as a result? What gender was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)? Pregnant on first try, and it was (and is) a girl. >5. Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other) methods presented any difficulties for you or your partner? Please describe. nope >6. Overall, would you say you were satisfied with the whole thing? (Did you get the "outcome" that you wanted?) yeah, and yeah, though I don't know how much was just chance (and my family leans heavily towards girls, so that may be a factor as well). ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Here are my responses to your post re: choosing the sex of your baby. 1. Yes, we wanted a girl with this (current -- six months along) pregnancy. WE already have a boy. 2. We used Shettles book and mainly relied on BBT and guessing at my cycles to predict ovulation. I don't have much cerv. mucus so that was hard to use. So, anticipating my ovulation date, we had sex 3 days prior to ovulation. 3. No other techniques. 4. Yes, pregnant now with a girl on the first try. 5. Not really any difficulties. 6. Yes, very very satisfied! A no-cost, painless way to (maybe) get our girl. Of course, we'll never know, but my attitude was it can't hurt to try. By the way, I called an ob/gyn I know to ask about Shettles and he said his opinion was you can "tip the scales" a little, like maybe up your odds to 55/45 or 60/40, with the Shettles method. I'll be interested to hear others' experiences. Also if people plan to keep trying even if it means expanding their families beyond their ideals. We had firmly decided that two was IT whether this one was a boy or girl. I'm just happy to have my <girl> on the way. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I'd be interested in the stats, even if it's not a true statistical sample! BTW, my husband and I were talking about this recently, and he brought up the fact that the people who try this method are the very people who probably have a higher chance of having one particular gender of baby. Good point, eh? >1. Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with any pregnancy, in advance of conception? A boy >2. Did you try any (or all) of the techniques outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book? If so, which ones? Please describe. Yes, we followed the advice exactly. Observed cervical secretions (I also did basal temperature for confirmation, and it did confirm ovulation as I had predicted it) ; timed I/C for the exact day of ovulation; douched with (??) baking soda sol'n; hubby had a big 44 oz diet coke before (in lieu of coffee); and the appropriate position (??) doggie style. >3. Did you try any other techniques besides those in the Shettles book? No >4. Did you get pregnant as a result? What gender was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)? Yes, pregnancy was acheived in one month, and we had a third baby girl :-) >5. Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other) methods presented any difficulties for you or your partner? Please describe. Nope >6. Overall, would you say you were satisfied with the whole thing? (Did you get the "outcome" that you wanted?) Well, we did it for the fun of it, so it didn't matter that we didn't get a boy. (besides, we never had to make the cir- (won't complete that word) decision! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ > 1. Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with any pregnancy, in advance of conception? Yes, we were trying for a boy with our 3rd. (We had 2 daughters already) > 2. Did you try any (or all) of the techniques outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book? If so, which ones? Please describe. I used the method of altering the alkalinity of the vagina which is supposed to favor the life of one sperm over another. I used a baking-soda douch before intercourse. > 3. Did you try any other techniques besides those in the Shettles book? Timing: I tried to time conception as close to ovulation as I could. > 4. Did you get pregnant as a result? What gender was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)? Yes - we had our son in May of <year>. > 5. Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other) methods presented any difficulties for you or your partner? Please describe. No, it was really fairly simple. > 6. Overall, would you say you were satisfied with the whole thing? (Did you get the "outcome" that you wanted?) Yes > 7. Any other comments? I think it's important to note that in doing this there are NO GUARANTEES and you have to enter into it with the mindset that you will welcome a child of the either sex regardless of the outcome. (ie: You should have a baby because you want another child, NOT because you are trying for a given sex) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ]1. Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with any pregnancy, in advance of conception? Yes. ]2. Did you try any (or all) of the techniques outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book? If so, which ones? Please describe. Yes. Charted BBT and mucus, and timed intercourse to hopefully be 3 days before ovulations. ]3. Did you try any other techniques besides those in the Shettles book? No. ]4. Did you get pregnant as a result? What gender was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)? Yes. Female. ]5. Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other) methods presented any difficulties for you or your partner? Please describe. Not really. ]6. Overall, would you say you were satisfied with the whole thing? (Did you get the "outcome" that you wanted?) Yes, we were satisfied (we got the girl we wanted). But we would have been satisfied with _any_ live baby, no matter what the gender. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Okey, I'll try to answer your questions. Before our first child there were no discussion. Suddenly one day we said YES we want a child. I thought it was too late that period, the day after ovulation, but I was wrong. One "try" and I was pregnant. To my surprise a baby boy was born. I hadn't read Shettles then. One year later we tried for a girl. I had full control over my ovulation after checking BBT for a while. My periods were regular. We had sex 3 days before ovulation for two months but no - I didn't became pregnant. We thought we should give it one more try before the "rabbit-method". And YES I became pregnant!!! Due to chance or science - it was a Girl!!! After that i told my friends about it. Two of them, both mothers to boys, tried the same method and both of them gave birth to girls. Which, of course, made me very happy! Another friend of mine who has one girl and then one boy tried for another girl. #3 was a boy. I don't know if I believe in Shettle's method or not but if I ever try for another baby, I will use the method. To answer shortly to your question about if we used any other of Shettles methods than "timing", the answer is no. Not on purpose anyway. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ For what it's worth, here's what probably amounts to an urban myth, but one that turned out to be true (maybe) in our case. Right before we conceived our daughter, my husband had taken a loooong, *hot* bath. I read or heard somewhere, after the fact, that sperm carrying the Y chromosome are more heat sensitive than sperm carrying the X. My husband was at room temperature, so to speak, when we conceived #2, and voila: a boy. Of course, any number of variables probably had a lot more to do with the outcomes... .. what could be an important[:-)] variable: *I* had soaked in the hot tub before my husband did. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ .. Despite the 'failures' that have also been reported in this thread, I still hold a lot of stock with Shettle's methods. It makes intuitive sense, to me. For the 'failures,' ie the woman who conceived the girl right at ovulation, there are other factors, which Shettle's takes into account. The primary one being the pH factor of the woman's vaginal tract secretions. As I recall, acidic likes the little girl sperms and the opposite, the little boy ones. And some women are just generally acidic. No matter what, they'll only conceive girls, just the way their bodies are. And perhaps for <name>, her body is such that her secretions give the little boy sperms the advantage. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ This subject pops up now and then (pun!) on misc.kids.pregnancy. I asked the same question not too long ago. The short answer is "probably not". Our pediatrician and my wife's OB/GYN guy feel this way. What I heard from other netters is: The sperm carrying X chromosomes are slower, but more durable than sperm carrying Y chromosomes. If you're trying for a girl, you'd have intercourse a couple of days _before_ ovulation, using a missionary position that allows for shallow penetration, the theory being that the more durable sperm carrying the X chromosome will last longer and outperform the faster, but weaker, Y chromosome sperm. If you're trying for a boy, you'd have intercourse _at_ ovulation, using a deeply penetrating position, so the fast Y sperm would get to the egg first... Arf. There was also some speculation that the X chromosome sperm survived better in an acidic environment, Y sperm in a basic environment, hence the talk you may hear about vinegar douches... I can't vouch for any of this, and my gut feeling is that if you _do_ actually make a difference, it's probably on the order of 50.00001 vs. 49.99999 rather than 51/49. My wife and I gave up on timing ovulation, etc. We just try to not be too damn worn out when <first child's> asleep...! Best of luck! Keep in mind that _any_ baby is the right baby, _your_ baby! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ When I was in <Thailand> two years ago, I visited a private hospital and noticed the advertisment on the hospital wall. They claimed that they can help select the sex of the baby. My Thai relatives also suggested me to pay a visit to Thai fertility doctor so that I my next baby would be boy. I have two girls and no intention of having another baby (boy nor girl). So, I just laughed it off. I also remember a few years back, 20/20 or one of those similar show did a story on Thai doctor who discover the the sex selection method which have high successfull rate. I can't quote exact data, It's been long time. But I guess it works, that why most of the private hospitals in Thailand offer this service. One more things, though, it seems that most of people who use this sex selection service are hoping for boy. The requirement for the parent to be is that they must already have at least 2 girls before receiving this treatment (according to the TV show mention above). This is to balance the female/male population. I don't know whether this requirement is still hold true or not. May be I should check it out next time I visit Thailand, just in case :-) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ About sex selection: I've just completed a Ph.D. dissertation on sex ratios of newborn rats, and have a pretty good handle on the literature (even for humans!). The "speedy Y, hardy X" theory has not held up. In the aggregate, the studies on timing of intercourse suggest an opposite effect: intercourse several days before ovulation produces males, and intercourse immediately before ovulation produces females. But these effects are very slight, if they are even there. My favorite study set out to test the "speedy Y, hardy X" theory and gave prospective parents instructions for how to proceed for the child of their choice -- and 69% of them got a child of the OTHER sex. By the way, for what it's worth, rats have more males in their litters when they mate early in the evening, and females when they mate closer to ovulation (rat cycles are four days long, not four weeks, so we measure timing of mating relative to ovulation in terms of hours, not days). However, the skewing occurs through loss of pups after implantation, and not at conception. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I have two children and both times we were trying I *know* we had intercourse about 2 days *before* I ovulated. We have two girls! It worked for us and we weren't even trying for a specific sex. I had heard that hot baths can cause problems for the mans fertility. My husband loved hot baths and was cut off from them while we were trying to get me pregnant. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ We tried for a girl the third time around, and ended up with our third son. (I am dyslexic-sp?) so maybe I did it backwards?! Anyway be assured that whatever the sex it's great having another baby. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 1st two babies: had intercourse when ovulation kit said I was ovulating. (So we inadvertently used the timing scheme for the Shettle's method for having boys.) Both pregnancies started on first month of trying. Results: boys 3rd baby: Had read Shettles' book. Used only the TIMING part of the Shettles method for having a girl. Tried to use the "no orgasm for the woman" part but declined using it on the particular day that we conceived. Used VERY conservative timing --- intercourse 3 to 4 days before ovulation. Took 7 months to get pregnant. Result: girl ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 1. Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with any pregnancy, in advance of conception? Yes. I had a boy, and wanted a girl. 2. Did you try any (or all) of the techniques outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book? If so, which ones? Please describe. Mainly the vinegar douche, and timing conception. This was 23 years ago, so I cannot remember the details. I don't think I knew my cycles were longer, and therefore, I ovulated longer. For me, I think the Vinegar made me too acidic, and therefore killed the sperm. We tried for 9 months. The one time I did not douche, we got pregnant, and guess what, a wonderful son, who is now an adult !! Sigh. Never did have that daughter... 3. Did you try any other techniques besides those in the Shettles book? No. 4. Did you get pregnant as a result? What gender was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)? Yes, a wonderful son. 5. Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other) methods presented any difficulties for you or your partner? Please describe. Douching is a pain in the neck. And the highly acidic vaginal pH has not been discussed. 6. Overall, would you say you were satisfied with the whole thing? (Did you get the "outcome" that you wanted?) Nope, did not get my daughter, but we love our son. I guess I was just slated to have sons...I wish the results were more dependable... ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ For any future reference ... the Shettles methods ring true for us. In trying to fall pregnant we timed intercourse with ovulation exactly (I knew my body pretty well by this stage through BBT, mucous etc) and when we FINALLY achieved pregnancy we had our precious little boy. After this we were unsure that we would be able to achieve another pregnancy but were not concerned. As I had no period between the birth of number 1 and our second baby its hard to tell when ovulation occured but we had a girl. Interestingly the diet mentioned is so true for me! When we conceived our son I was eating foods high in salt, savoury etc and when we conceived our daughter my diet consisted heavily of dairy products,and calcium rich foods (as I was breastfeeding our baby at the time) Oh yeh, the sex positions also seem to tally! Alot of couples we know who have had problems falling pregnant and finally do, have ALL had baby boys (5), they time intercourse with ovulation pretty closely to have the best posible chance of falling pregnant. --------------------------------------------------- I found this while looking for something else, and thought you needed it for your FAQ. :-) Not that it's very useful, but possibly interesting. Unique Identifier 95286765 Authors Weinberg CR. Baird DD. Wilcox AJ. Title The sex of the baby may be related to the length of the follicular phase in the conception cycle. Source Human Reproduction. 10(2):304-7, 1995 Feb. MeSH Subject Headings Adult, Cohort Studies, Female, *Follicular Phase, Human, Infant, Newborn, Male, Pregnancy, Prospective Studies, *Sex Determination, Time Factors Abstract "In a prospective study of normal couples discontinuing contraception to begin a pregnancy, the days of ovulation were estimated by hormonal assay of daily urine specimens. No hormonal interventions were used. Length of the follicular phase (from onset of menses to ovulation) was found to be related to the sex of the baby among 133 pregnancies that survived to delivery. Conception cycles with short follicular phases (early ovulation) tended to produce boys, while those with long follicular phases tended to produce girls. This relationship is consistent with other data and could explain sex-related differences in the length of gestation and the observed excess of same-sex pairs among dizygotic twins." I happened to ovulate two days late when I conceived my [baby], though. --------------------------------------------------- After getting different nonsensical news reports about the New England Journal of Medicine article, I went and got the real thing. The study was done with fertile couples only. They tried to answer 4 questions: [first three snipped] and (4) can a couple influence the sex of the baby by altering the time of intercourse. .... They also didn't find any correlation between timing of intercourse and sex of the child. So much for the idea that the guy sperm swim faster than the gal sperm (or vice versa?): at least not enough to matter in the uterus under "normal" conditions. By the way, they monitored the couples in the study quite closely and estimated time of ovulation based on chemicals in the daily urine specimens. I'm not an expert on all of this by any means, but this article is fairly straightforward. [A.J. Wilcox, C.R. Weinberg, D.D. Baird (1995) Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation--Effects on the probability of conception, survival of the pregnancy, and sex of the baby. NEJM vol. 333 no. 23, pp. 1517-21. Pub. date 12/7/95]. There's an accompanying editorial pp. 1563-1564. ----- end individual responses -------------------- 3.4 THE HUNTS' "SHETTLES SUCCESS STORY" Why this section? Well, mainly because so many people on m.k and m.k.p folllowed the progress of our 3rd baby, from my initial questions about Shettles, through conception and pregnancy, to our baby Jasper's birth in June 1996 -- that I figured it's public information now. Besides, I already posted the relevant details below. And finally, it gives the FAQ more credibility, I think, when I tell you that we laid our reputations on the line, so to speak :-). So, the Hunt story: For our first baby we didn't know about Shettles, and we weren't concerned about whether our baby was a boy or girl. We also didn't know when my wife ovulated, and in fact most all our knowledge about conception centered around outdated ideas about the rhythm method, along with my wife's "gut feeling" that her monthly cervical-fluid (or mucus) pattern was related to overall fertility. We did have one advantage: my wife has an extraordinarily regular, 30-day monthly cycle (the kind you can set your clocks by - you know, "we'd better go home now, sweetie, my period's gonna start in 17.5 minutes" :-)). She had of course never charted BBTs (and still hasn't to this day). Overall, though, baeed mostly on her cycle- regularity, we knew approximately what time of the month she was fertile. In retrospect, timing seems to have been the critical variable. We had our minds made up that we wanted to conceive NOW, so during the fertile week we had intercourse around 9 or 10 times -- at least every day, and sometimes twice a day. (This sounds like more fun that it is, believe me :-). We did conceive that first month of trying, and we undoubtedly hit the day of ovulation right on the nose. Also this first time, we happened to use some of the other "boy" methods in Shettles' book, as we found out later -- position (rear-entry about 60-70 percent of the time), penetration (deep), female orgasm (yes), no hot baths for me, and I was wearing boxers for part of the time leading up to conception (I have always switched back & forth between boxers and briefs, which probably just confuses those poor sperms hopelessly!) I also drink a lot of coffee, though usually not after around 2 pm. Result: Our first baby was a boy. For our 2nd, we "sort-of" wanted a girl, but we still didn't know about Shettles. We had become a little more sophistiacted, and were timing ovulation by the cervical-fluid method. This baby took 3-4 months to conceive, primarily because we couldn't seem to hit close enough to ovulation -- the result of having a very active (and sleepless) 2.5-year-old :-). Finally, in hopes of increasing the odds for overall conception, we again used the "rabbit method" during the relevant week -- frequent sex starting about a week before ovulation, through several days afterward. The other techniques were the same as the first time, except that I was wearing the boxers full-time (partly for fertility, partly because it was July in Virginia :-)). Our 2nd baby was also a boy. As for Number 3, our real Shettles success story: We DID know about Shettles this time, thanks to my initial queries on m.k and m.k.p, and we wanted to try for a girl. But, the twist in this story is that we did it all backwards! Specifically, by the time we decided to go for it, we were already in mid- cycle. So, we decided to use September as a "practice month" (i.e., let's enjoy sex without contraception for once), and were going to give Shettles a *serious try in October. (You can tell where this is going to end up, can't you? :-)) We quit using the condoms on Day 19, which was 2 days after what we *thought* was ovulation, based on the fluid quantity and quality. In hindsight, this timing apparently placed intercourse right on the day of ovulation or a bit after (we suspect this might be one of the unusual times when intercourse after ovulation resulted in conception). We had rear-entry intercourse, deep penetration, female orgasm, no hot baths, and boxers. We had sex two days later, but weren't able to have intercourse again for about a week after that (Day 28), and figured that Day 20 would bring my wife's period like clockwork as usual. Oops :-). As you might guess, our third baby is a boy, too! (And no, we don't plan to test Shettles again; three kids is our planned maximum. However, if there are any accidents, it appears more likely that we will have a 4th boy, if the pattern is any guide!) --------------------------------------------------- END of misc.kids / misc.kids.pregnancy FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file "Choosing the Sex of Your Baby FAQ." --------------------------------------------------- Roger, dad for Zachary (Dec 22 '89), Elliot (Apr 17 '93), and Jasper (Jun 6 '96) - p. 40 in 1996 m.k Photoalbum ~~~~~~~~~~~ rah@gvsu.edu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ real name: Roger A. Hunt real home: Grand Valley State University, Allendale/Grand Rapids/Holland, Michigan ---> "Cruising the Information Superhighway at 35 miles per hour, in the passing lane... with a hat on." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~