“Are you having a boy or a girl?” Expectant parents could start their future child’s college fund if they earned a dollar every time they’re asked that question. Finding out baby’s sex during pregnancy is undeniably one of life’s most exciting events. But what about before the baby’s even conceived? Can you pick the gender of your baby?
What Determines the Sex of a Child?
The X and Y chromosomes (sex chromosomes) determine the biological sex of a human being. A female has two X chromosomes (XX) and a male has an X and a Y (XY). A woman’s egg carries one X chromosome and a fertilizing sperm will either contribute an X or a Y chromosome. If the sperm provides an X, then the baby will be a girl; if the sperm provides a Y, then the baby will be a boy. When conceiving naturally, the chances of having a boy or a girl are nearly 50/50. But can those odds be swayed?
Picking the Gender of your Baby: Myth or Science?
First, the Myths of Gender Selection
Just as there are plenty of myths for predicting baby gender during pregnancy, there are also myths related to methods for choosing baby’s sex at time of conception.
The Shettles Method
The Shettles method for picking the gender of your baby suggests a combination of diet changes, timing of intercourse, and sexual positions to influence baby’s sex. The method dates all the way back to the 1960s and is somehow still with us even though—according to the respected Cleveland Clinic—most of the method’s instructions for selecting baby’s sex have largely been disproved by modern science. As with any method, and despite the lack of scientific support, there are those who will claim Shettles worked for them. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some of Shettles’ more mythical claims include:
- Having intercourse closer to ovulation increases chances of having a boy
- Deeper intercourse increases chances of having a boy
- Upping potassium in a women’s diet increases chances of having a boy
- Changing the pH factor in the vagina to make it more acidic favors a girl
Other Myths and Products for Picking the Gender of your Baby
If you’re interested in finding ways to sway your future baby’s sex one way or the other, then the internet is your playground. There will always be champions out therein pregnancy forums and on social media who swear that one of these or some other method helped them to conceive that boy they’ve always wanted (after six girls!) or the baby girl of their dreams. But beware! The science is unreliable or unproven at best and downright sketchy at worst.
Now, the Science of Gender Selection
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the only current reliable method for picking the gender of your baby is not a natural one, unfortunately—it is called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and it’s available solely to in vitro (IVF) patients. With this method, a cell of a developing embryo is tested for its sex prior to placement in the uterus of the mother. The parent(s) can then choose which embryo of several they want implanted based on the sex.
Because this technique is effective, even those who can conceive naturally are paying out thousands of dollars to fertility clinics to “balance out their families” using IVF with PGD. Bio-ethicists have sounded an alarm about this capability and warn that widespread use of this technique could lead to a trend in “designer babies,” but there’s no denying the science behind it is proven and sound.
It’s important also to keep in mind that the IVF procedure itself is not guaranteed to be successful. The experts at the American Pregnancy Association provide these percentages for live birth rates:
- 41-43% for women under age 35
- 33-36% for women ages 35 to 37
- 23-27% for women ages 38 to 40
- 13-18% for women ages over 40
Find Out Baby’s Gender as Early as Just 7 Weeks with Peekaboo
So what do you think? Can you choose the gender of your baby? Whether you try one of these techniques to choose baby’s sex, or simply leave it up to nature to decide for you, the most important goal should always be to have a healthy baby. Once you do become pregnant, the Peekaboo Early Gender Detection DNA test is an accurate, easy, and affordable way to determine baby’s gender super early, using DNA analysis.