Are you longing for a girl? Do you already have a one boy or more and now want to see if you can tip the gender balance in your household? There are lots of theories and claims made about influencing the chances of having either a boy or a girl baby, but the scientific facts are absolutely clear. The chances of having a boy or a girl are almost exactly equal for each and every pregnancy. Even though some couples only seem to make boys, or girls, this patterning owes more to luck and coincidence than management.
Top tips for conceiving a girl
Have sex every day from the day when you finish your period up to 2½-4 days before you ovulate.
Keep an ovulation chart so you know when you are ovulating.
Avoid having sex which involves deep penetration – missionary position is best.
Purchase an alkaline testing kit from the pharmacy to find out your vaginal pH.
Eat foods that support a more acidic vaginal pH, like green leafy vegetables, whole grains, meat, sweets, corn and blueberries.
What’s a fact and what’s fallacy?
To have a girl, an X chromosome-carrying sperm should reach the egg first.
It’s important to remember that it is always the man who determines the sex of the baby. Women always carry a pair of X chromosomes whereas men carry an X and Y.
It is a fallacy that men who are less masculine father girls.
It is a fallacy that one of the testicles only produces X (girl) sperm and the other only produces Y (boy) sperm.
Lunar cycles, diet, sexual positions, homeopathy and assorted complimentary medicine practices do no influence the likelihood of having a boy or a girl.
If you really want to minimise your chances of having a boy and maximise the odds of having a girl, then Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) – also called gender selection – through a fertility clinic is an option to consider. 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 implanted in the womb. This gives parents who may 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
If you are keen to have girl, then you need to think about, plan for and execute your strategy to include exactly how and when you are going to have sex. Forget just waiting to see what happens or being relaxed about it.
Bear in mind that in order to maximise your chances of conceiving either a boy or a girl then you need to have produced an egg, which the sperm can then fertilise. Having lots of sex throughout your cycle will provide you with the best chances of having any baby. If you limit the opportunity for conception to occur, this will in turn, reduce your chances of having either a boy or a girl.
In the 1960’s, Dr. Shettles developed a range of strategies, which could boost the probability of parents having either a girl or a boy.
According to Shettles, to conceive a girl you need to:
Have sex 2½–4 days before you ovulate. Timing sex is the key here, so it would help if you keep an ovulation chart where you can predict what days of your cycle you are likely to ovulate and have lots of sex before you release an egg.
Have sex every day from the day when you finish your period. This helps to deposit lots of the longer lasting X sperm so they are ready to fertilise the egg once it is released from the ovaries.
Preparation is the key to conceiving a girl. Don’t wait for the last moment to have sex. Boosting your chances of having a girl is similar to saving for a home loan. Make lots of deposits nice and early and then, when the time is right you are in the best position to gain the rewards.
Shettles also advises that if couples want to conceive a girl:
Avoid having sex at the time when you ovulate or just afterwards. Having sex when ovulation is still some days away supports the slower moving X sperm.
Mucus that is produced before ovulation tends to be more acidic and this helps to conceive with a girl. Women who are sensitive to their body’s changes are in the best possible position to know when they are fertile.
The woman should not orgasm (sorry girls). Apparently, this makes it easier for sperm to swim and then those slower X chromosome-carrying sperm will not make it against the faster boy-making Y sperm. Shettles claims female orgasm helps to produce a more alkaline vaginal environment, which favours boy sperm. The muscular uterine contractions also give the boy sperm a boost towards the fallopian tubes, which is where conception usually takes place.
For more: Shettles Method to conceive a girl
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. This is because 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 try using 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.
An increase in your basal body temperature (BBT). This is the lowest temperature that 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.
Bear in mind that the ovulation testing kits, which work by measuring hormonal levels in the saliva, rather than the urine, are supposed to be more exact.
General tips to help conceive a girl
Avoid having sex involving deep penetration. The missionary position may be preferable because the semen/ sperm are not deposited as closely to the cervix as with the all fours position. A shallow position is preferable when trying to have a girl baby.
Enlist your partner’s cooperation if you’re trying to have a girl. There may be changes from your usual sexual routine. Communication and shared decision-making will go a long way towards avoiding misunderstandings at ‘delicate’ moments.
It seems that girl sperm favour a more acidic environment. This is largely out of your control though there may be some foods which favour the acidic ph. Alkaline testing kits are available from pharmacies if you’re keen to find out what your individual vaginal pH may be.
There is a theory that girl sperm are more prolific when a man is ejaculating daily. But just to confuse us, there is another theory which claims that it takes a couple of days for total sperm numbers to build up to maximum numbers after ejaculation.
To boost your chances of having a baby girl, try eating more of these foods:
Green leafy vegetables. Be aware that some researchers claim mothers who are keen to conceive with a girl should avoid most fruit and vegetables, though in a dietary sense this is generally not advisable for anyone. Folic acid is an important nutrient in the first trimester and green leafy vegetables are one of the major sources of folate.
Whole grains such as breads, cereal and rice.
Sweets, chocolates, desserts and cakes (lucky you).
Corn and blueberries.
Avoid eating nuts, specifically almonds.
Aim to eat foods that are high and rich in magnesium, such as fish, fruit and grains.
There is some scientific proof to support the theory that women who have a higher energy intake in their diets are more likely to have boys. More kilojoules per day favours those little boys it seems. So the reverse may be true to help boost the chances of having a girl. Just remember, there are no guarantees.