Some couples are almost desperate to conceive a baby of one particular gender. Fathers, especially, can be eager to have a boy, but there are also mothers who long for a son. Most couples however, are happy with either a boy or a girl, as long as their baby is healthy and strong. But if you are keen to try to sway the odds of having a boy then there is no harm in trying. Just remember that there are no guarantees and the odds of conceiving a boy or a girl are almost exactly the same for each and every pregnancy.
No matter what claims are made by companies asserting their skills in predicting whether a boy or girl will be conceived, don’t be too trusting. A lot of time, money, trust and energy can be wasted by couples who think they can consciously influence their baby’s gender.
Diet, lunar calendars, sexual positions and even the boy/ girl patterning within families do not change the likelihood of gender determination.
Top tips for conceiving a boy- Remember there are no guarantees
Time sex to coincide with the day of ovulation (no earlier than 24 hours before you are about to ovulate).
Deep penetrative sex is preferable.
It helps if the woman reaches orgasm.
Have an energy drink, a cup of coffee or some chocolate before having sex.
Get your partner to trade in his tight undies for some boxer shorts.
What’s a fact and what’s a fallacy?
Men influence the gender of the baby, not women. Men provide the sperm, which either has an X (girl) or Y (boy) sex-linked chromosome. When an X chromosome from the father’s sperm, combines with the mother’s X chromosome (in her egg) it results in a baby girl (XX) and when a Y chromosome from the sperm, combine with the mother’s X chromosome, it will result in a boy (XY).
There is no sure-fire guarantee of having a baby of a particular gender. Hoping and trying for a boy or girl is just that, and does not influence the odds in either direction.
One testicle does not produce girl sperm and the other boy sperm. Both produce an equal number of X and Y sperm and it is random chance, rather than management, as to which one fertilises the egg.
Some families seem to produce more children of a specific sex, for instance if a man has more brothers, he is more likely to have a son.
Herbal and complementary medicine remedies do not impact on the likelihood of having a girl or a boy. They tend to offer spurious claims, which are not based on scientific fact and reason.
Can’t I choose which sex my baby is?
Recently a new procedure called Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) has become available to parents. It is used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and is a way of detecting specific genetic disorders within an embryo before it is placed within the womb. This gives parents who may both suffer from a genetic disorder, the chance of having a baby without that defect. With a very high success rate in determining gender, it does not serve as a guarantee that the procedure will result in a successful pregnancy. There are also lots of ethical, social and religious debates surrounding this method of selective implantation.
In South Africa, changes to our legal framework are required to regulate the use of PGD, the circumstances in which it may occur, as well as to guard against misuse of the technology. It is a very expensive procedure and our medical aid schemes may not yet recognise it as a legitimate expense.
So let’s look at (much cheaper) alternatives.
Timing of intercourse
The timing of when a couple has sex is thought to actually make a difference in helping to conceive with a boy. It is one of the strategies suggested in The Shettles Method, which claims that the chances of having a boy are boosted when conception occurs as close to ovulation as possible. Boy (Y) sperm are not as resilient as the female (X) sperm and, according to Shettles, it may help to provide a bit of additional support to the Y sperm to get to their destination without having to compete more than they absolutely have to. Of course, this all depends on the willingness of a couple to track the woman’s ovulation and be available to each other during those crucial fertile hours.
According to Dr. Shettles, you should time to have sex 12 hours before you ovulate.
Click here to find out more: Shettles Method to conceive a boy
According to Shettles, if you want a boy then avoid having sex:
Earlier than 24 hours before you are about to ovulate
After 12 hours since you ovulated
Shettles also advises that if couples want to conceive a boy:
Best positions- deep penetrative sex is preferable. This helps to deposit the semen and sperm closest to the woman’s cervix so they are given the best opportunity to get to the egg in the fallopian tube. Twelve hours before ovulation is thought to maximise the chances of conceiving with a boy.
It also helps if the woman orgasms – preferably before the man does. This boosts the alkaline properties of the vagina, which supports the sperm to do their work. Orgasm also causes uterine and vaginal contractions, which help to push the sperm upwards to where they need to go.
To increase a father’s sperm count, he should not ejaculate for 4-5 days before ovulation, which according to Shettles will increase the chances of having a boy.
How do I know when I’ve ovulated?
Many women develop a distinctive pain on one side of their lower pelvis, which occurs mid-way through their monthly cycle.
Changes in the cervical mucus. Fertile mucus is clear, watery and stretchy – it appears similar to egg white. The cells change to encourage the smooth passage of sperm upwards through the cervix towards the fallopian tubes. Fertile mucus is also less acidic than non-fertile mucus, and this environment favours the sperm rather than killing them off.
You could tryusing an ovulation testing kit. These detect hormonal changes, which occur at ovulation, particularly an increase in Luteinizing Hormone. But there is still some disagreement over their effectiveness. Ovulation Test strips can cost anything from R100 and up – depending on where you shop.
You may feel different. Women who have ovulated and are at their most fertile often experience an increase in their libido, they appear more attractive and are more relaxed.
Anincrease in your basal body temperature. This is the lowest temperature, which is attained by your body during rest and sleep. Just before ovulation occurs there is a rise in the temperature by a couple of degrees. If you are trying to conceive a boy, then it can be useful to chart your basal body temperature for a few months so you know your peak times of fertility.
General tips to help conceive a boy
Caffeine may help to give the Y-laden sperm an additional boost. An energy drink, cup of coffee or even some chocolate before having sex won’t do any harm.
Suggest your partner change his underpants preference if he’s into the tighter briefs. Boxer shorts don’t ‘hug’ the testicles close to the body and cause them to overheat. This can reduce the number of sperm that are produced and, in turn, the likelihood of conceiving with a boy.
What about the food I’m eating?
It does seem that male sperm prefer an alkaline vaginal environment, which is where the correlation between diet and gender selection comes in. But whether or not eating a less acidic diet makes a difference is still open to debate. But it probably does no harm.
If you want to conceive a boy baby then you may want to consider:
Eating less spicy foods and foods containing vinegar, citrus juices and fruits and tart/ tangy flavours.
Avoid eating dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and ice-cream.
Eat more foods containing potassium, such as bananas, broccoli, potatoes, spinach and Brussels sprouts.
Some researchers believe that taking a daily supplement of Evening Primrose Oil boosts the chances of conceiving a boy.
Try eating more of these foods:
Bread, avocado, almonds, sprouts and wheatgrass.
Pine nuts and cherries.