Mary always wanted a daughter, so she consulted a gender-focused ovulation calculator and calendar while trying to get pregnant. After following the specific guidelines, Mary got her wish and conceived a baby girl. Three years later, when she and her husband were ready for their second baby, Mary followed all the same steps. “I really wanted another little girl because I always wanted a sister,” she says. “Sure enough, I had another little girl!”
Although there have been no scientific studies to prove that natural gender selection methods actually work, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support them. In the book How to Choose The Sex of Your Baby, Dr Landrum Shettles, a biologist and early pioneer of IVF, offers tips on how to conceive a girl. His suggestions are based on the fact that sperm composed of a Y chromosome (male) are faster but more fragile than sperm composed of an X chromosome (female); he also considered how a woman’s vaginal environment affects the two different types of sperm.
Related: 7 Best Sex Positions for Conception
Additionally, some Eastern medicine techniques are thought to be helpful in gender selection. “My approach to fertility is based upon the Yin/Yang principle,” says Randine Lewis, PhD, founder of the US-based holistic infertility treatment centre The Fertile Soul, and author of The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies. Dr Lewis believes that Yin is associated with female hormones like oestrogen that have a cooling, moistening quality, whereas Yang is associated with the more dynamic hormones like testosterone and progesterone. “When the woman is more yin, she is more likely to conceive a girl; when she’s more yang she is more likely to conceive a boy,” she adds.
Follow these tips and you may be painting your nursery pink!
1. Change your diet. Eating foods that increase your vagina’s acidity levels might improve your changes of conceiving a girl. “No sperm like acidic environments, but X sperm is more durable and more likely to survive in a toxic environment,” says Dr Lewis. So, add more acid-forming foods to your diet, such as beef, chicken, cheese, pasta, rice and nuts.
2. Take specific vitamins and supplements. In addition to diet, supplements can help change your vagina’s acidity levels. “The more minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium you have in your body, the more likely you are to produce a girl,” she explains. “This is because minerals have a grounding effect, which is very yin.” Just be sure to consult your healthcare provider before taking any new vitamins or supplements, especially since you’re TTC.
3. Have him wear tighty-whiteys. According to the Shettles Method, overheating the male sperm might knock them out of the running, thereby allowing the tougher, less sensitive female sperm to reach the egg first. Think warm baths and tighty-whiteys that will get your partner’s testicles a bit more toasty. But don’t heat things up too much — go for balmy versus steamy — since research shows that too much heat can have an adverse effect on sperm in general.
4. Don’t have an orgasm. This advice may sound a bit cruel, but here’s the thing: Your orgasm causes contractions that allow the cervix to dip into the vagina, making it much easier for sperm to find their way — especially those speedy Y chromosome sperm. So take one for the team to give the girl sperm a better chance.
5. Have sex before you ovulate. The Shettles Method suggests having sex two to four days prior to ovulating. “If there is no intercourse around ovulation, X sperm from the previous few days (when yin is high) will be the ones that survive,” says Dr. Lewis. “The Y sperm are more likely to have died out.” Using an ovulation prediction kit can help you more accurately determine the best timing.
6. Avoid deep penetration during sex. Deep penetration gives the male sperm a major advantage by dropping them off close to the cervix, rather than forcing them to wade through more of the vagina’s acidic territory. A shallower penetration could help the slower (but stronger) female sperm. Try the missionary position, and tell your partner to take it easy!
7. See a specialist. IVF with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is the most reliable method of gender selection, according to Dr Norbert Gleicher, medical director and chief scientist at The Center for Human Reproduction in the United States. Through hormonal injections the ovaries are able to produce more eggs which are then fertilised with sperm; when they become embryos, cell samples are taken to determine whether the cells are girls or boys. “By transferring only the embryos of the desired gender to the mother’s uterus, we can be close to 100 percent certain that any established pregnancy will be of that desired sex,” says Dr. Gleicher. This option doesn’t come cheap, however: IVF with PGD can cost up to $25,000 per cycle.
More things you can try when TTC:
- 31 Things Every Couple Should Do Before Having a Baby
- 9 Surprising Fertility Truths & Myths
- 11 Early Signs of Pregnancy You’ve Never Heard Before