Does the day you have procreative sex matter? Or can the food you eat influence the gender of the baby? Here’s what you need to know.
It’s 2022, the days of Asian couples hoping for a boy to carry on the family lineage are long gone.
However, do you dream of having a princess to spoil, or even pass down your branded bag collection to? Or are you hoping for a boy to play footy with? For couples with 2 kids of the same gender, perhaps you’d like the third one to be of the opposite gender.
If you’re looking for ways to help skew the gender of your baby, you’ve stumbled upon the right article. Here we find out what affects the gender of a baby, and take a look at some of the methods to increase your chance of a certain gender.
What determines the sex of the baby?
Before we dive into the ways and tips to bear in mind when trying to conceive for a specific gender, let’s first take a look at how the sex of a baby is determined.
So, what makes a baby a boy or girl?
Answer, the sperm – it boils down to the one sperm that wins the race.
At conception, the sex of the baby will be determined by the combination of X and Y sex chromosomes received from the egg and the sperm. While all eggs contain a single X chromosome, sperms can contain either an X or Y chromosome.
An embryo with an XY chromosome combination will develop male sex organs, while an embryo with an XX chromosome combination will develop female sex organs . Hence, a child’s biological sex is determined by the male parent.
Natural methods to select gender
Are the odds naturally 50-50? Can you really work your way to the gender you prefer, or is it entirely determined by luck and chance?
Well, there are some ways to potentially skew the chances of you specially getting a boy or girl naturally, but do keep in mind that these methods have not been scientifically proven — although there’s no harm in trying them out and leaving it to fate, right?
#1 The Shettles Method
The Shettles Method was devised by Landrum B. Shettles, a physician in the USA. He studied sperm and came up with findings that highlighted the differences between the male and female sperm .
Male (Y chromosome) sperm tend to:
- Swim faster than female sperms and are therefore able to reach the egg faster.
- Less resilient, can survive for a shorter period of time.
- Tend to be smaller in size .
- Survive and swim better in alkaline conditions and cannot tolerate the acidic environment of the vagina.
Female (X chromosome) sperm tend to:
- Swim slower and are less mobile than male sperm.
- Are able to survive longer.
- Tend to be larger in size.
- A lower vaginal pH is favoured.
Based on those difference between male and female spem, Shettles determined a handful of factors that affect the gender of a baby, including the timing of sex, how deep the penetration should be, as well as the pH of the vagina.
If you want a boy :
- Try to time having sex as close to your ovulation day as possible. This means having sexual intercourse on the day of ovulation and up to 3 days after ovulation.
- Have sex in a position with deep penetration, particularly from behind, as this helps to deposit the sperm as close to the cervix as possible.
- Female to orgasm first. When a woman orgasms, her secretions tend to be alkaline, which is more optimal for the male sperm and can help the sperm as it swims to the egg.
If you want a girl :
- Have sex more during the days leading up to ovulation.
- Have sex face-to-face, with shallower penetration, enabling the sperm to pass through the acidic channel of the vagina.
- Female to orgasm only after the male has ejaculated, as the secretion from a female orgasm is alkaline and hence less optimal for female sperm.
#2 The Whelan Method
The Whelan Method places emphasis on a woman’s basal body temperature. Using the Whelan method, the woman will need to take their temperature every morning as soon as they wake up, and record it to be able to notice when the temperature changes. More specifically, the change should be about 0.5 to 1 degree celsius .
Knowing when your basal body temperature rises allows you to plan your day of sexual intercourse.
If you want to have a boy:
- Have sex 4 to 6 days before it rises.
If you want a girl:
- Have sex close to the time of ovulation, when your basal body temperature rises; 2 or 3 days before ovulation, or on ovulation day itself.
The Shettles Method vs The Whelan Method
Yes, The Shettles Method and The Whelan Method are in fact contradicting when it comes to deciding on the days to have sexual intercourse. To try for a boy, the former says to have sex on the day or days after ovulation, while the latter says to have sex 4 to 6 days before ovulation.
What’s important to keep in mind is that choosing not to have sex on specific days during your fertile window means that you’re potentially reducing your possibility of getting pregnant, compared to having sex more times during your fertile window.
Having sex multiple times during your fertile window can be a challenging task for some couples, especially if you have low libido or are simply not in the mood. Alternatively, you could also use conception tools such as the twoplus Fertility Applicator, that allows you to directly deposit sperm higher up the vaginal tract, to optimise the chances of fertilisation. This means you can still try and conceive, even without penetrative sex.
#3 Your diet
If you are what you eat…can what you eat really affect the gender of your baby?
There are theories surrounding how the food you eat can increase your chances of having a baby of a certain gender. For example, some claim that a diet with potassium-rich foods such as bananas and sweet potatoes, as well as red meats is encouraged if you want a boy; while eggs, yoghurt and chocolate would be ideal if you want a girl .
Other studies found a correlation between eating more calories and conceiving a boy. Some women who conceived males also happened to eat more breakfast cereals .
However, regardless of the gender you are trying for, you should strive to have healthier eating habits, which can also improve your health and fertility. This means eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You should also start taking supplements like folic acid or CoQ10 with vitamin B1 as you try to conceive.
#4 Other methods
There are also many old-wives tales surrounding methods to get a girl or a boy, including :
- Having coffee before sex.
- Have sex in a standing position.
- Wearing boxers or briefs.
- Any other unconventional method you’ve heard through the grapevine.
Are these methods reliable and successful?
While you can probably find lots of success stories online that support a specific theory, there is no guaranteed and scientifically proven way for you to alter the chances of having a baby of a specific gender .
So perhaps, it could be best to let nature take its course.
Medical methods to select gender
Selecting during In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
During the IVF process, the procedure of preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) can help to determine the gender of the baby. In PGS, a cell is taken from a Day 5 embryo to have its chromosomal content analysed. This chromosome analysis tests the embryos for their sex, and couples can choose to implant an embryo with a specific sex into the uterus.
While this medical procedure is possible, countries like Singapore do not allow IVF sex selection, with the exception of a situation where there is a family history of sex-linked chromosomal disorders that are hereditary .
Sperm sorting, also known as the MicroSort method, uses a technology called flow cytometry — where X and Y sperm are sorted and separated . The sperm will then be inserted into the woman via Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or IVF.
However, MicroSort is only available in a handful of countries such as Mexico, Malaysia and Switzerland .
Regardless of race, language, or…gender
While there isn’t any scientific backing to the natural methods listed, there’s nothing to lose to give some of those tips a shot. After all, regardless of the sex of the baby, you’re sure to love him or her just the same.
So, when will you find out if your baby is a boy or girl? Between weeks 7 to 12 is when the foetus starts developing his or her sex organs, and your excitement will build at around 18 to 22 weeks as an ultrasound can be done to determine the baby’s gender .
If you and your partner all ready to go, start by having sex more frequently around your fertile window. You can also increase the chances of getting pregnant by using tools like the twoplus Fertility’s Sperm Guide. Made with medical-grade silicone, this fertility product for men and women helps reduce semen leakage after sexual intercourse and potentially increasing the number of sperms that reach the egg.
P.S. Gender stereotypes have been an increasingly common topic among parents-to-be. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, this post about raising gender-neutral babies could help shed some light on your decision-making process.
Have you recently gotten pregnant with twoplus' products? If so, we would love to hear from you! Drop us a line via this form to share your story with the twoplus team and spread hope among the TTC community. Bonus: You'll be rewarded for your efforts!