BOY OR GIRL?
Authorship: by Roger Hunt -- semi-frequent misc.kids and
misc.kids.pregnancy contributor; college professor of geography and
planning (*not* of biology, although he did teach a course on population
fertility); AND spouse for one wife, dad for two kids, with a 3rd baby on
the way (as of this writing!) Whenever you see the "I"
"me" "my" references in this FAQ, they usually refer
to me, Roger -- except in Section 3.3, of course.
- SHETTLES METHOD SUMMARY
- Basically, men produce two types of sperms, the X (female) and Y
(male). According to Dr. Shettles' studies the y-sperms are smaller,
weaker, but faster than their siblings x-sperms, which are bigger,
stronger, but slower.
- Based on this fact, there are several things you can do to
"favor" the conception of boys or girls:
- (1) The most important aspect of all is timing of intercourse during
the monthly cycle. The closer to ovulation you have sex, the better
the chances to have a boy, because the y-sperms are faster and tend to
get to the egg first. If you have sex 3 days or more before ovulation,
the better your chances to conceive a girl, because the weaker
y-sperms tend to die sooner and the x-sperms will be available in
greater quantity whenever the egg is released. On the other hand,
having sex from 2 days before ovulation, through a few days after
ovulation, is better for conceiving a boy. Around the 2-day point --
48 hours before ovulation -- seems to be the 50/50 mark.
- (2) The pH of the women's tract is also very important. A more
acidic environment favors girls, since it will kill the weaker
y-sperms first, leaving a greater quantity of x-sperms available to
fertilize the egg. On the other hand, a more alkaline environment
favors boys. Shettles recommends a douche of water and vinegar (acid)
immediately before intercourse to favor a girl; a douche of water and
baking soda (alkaline) will help for a boy.
(Don't try this without reading Shettles! You have to dilute the
douches properly, according to his formula, or they won't help and
might hurt you.)
Note: Some women are naturally very acidic and have a
hard time conceiving boys.
- (3) Position of intercourse and depth of penetration are important,
partly because of pH. The closer to the entrance to the vagina, the
more acidic the women's tract is. Also, deep penetration places the
sperm closer to the egg, and gives those aggressive boy sperms a head
start :-). So, a shallow penetration will favor girls and a deeper
will favor boys. Shettles recommends missionary-position for a girl,
and rear-entry (dog-style) for a boy.
- (4) Women's orgasms can also be important. It also has to do with
pH. When a woman has an orgasm, the body releases some kind of
substance that makes the environment more alkaline, favoring boys. He
recommends no orgasms when trying for girls!
- (5) The sperm count is another factor. Obviously, a low sperm count
to begin with doesn't favor either sex. But a high sperm count favors
boys. Shettles recommends three things:
(a) When trying for a boy, don't have sex for 3- 4 days before you
reach the target date a day or two before ovulation! For girls, have
sex everyday from day=1 or day=5 ("cleaner" :-)), and stop 3
days before ovulation. (b) Shettles recommends that for boys, the man
wear loose underwear only -- that is, men who usually wear briefs or
other tight underwear should switch to boxers. The idea is the same as
wearing boxers to increase overall fertility -- the testicles need
cooler temperatures for sperms to survive, and the Y-sperms, since
they are weaker, will be helped more than the X-sperms by this method.
However, Shettles does NOT recommend the opposite, that men wear
briefs for a girl -- this will just decrease overall fertility. (c)
Also, for a girl, the man is supposed to take a hot bath immediately
before intercourse. "Room temperature" is fine for a boy.
The idea is the same as the briefs versus boxers -- give the X- sperms
- (6) Finally, in trying for a boy, Shettles recommends a nice cup of
caffeinated coffee for the man, right before sex -- he isn't clear on
how or why this works, but apparently it gives the Y-sperms a jolt!
- Well, these are the big ones. Read the book for other details. If
you can determine the time of ovulation and follow the rules presented
in his book, Dr. Shettles claims a success rate of 70-75% for girls
and 75-80% for boys (better than the normal 50%). As you see, it's not
- Also, Shettles recommends a "practice" period of 3-6
months, to make sure the couple has all the techniques down properly.
END SHETTLES SUMMARY
2.2 A NOTE ABOUT OVERALL FERTILITY
- Many of Shettles' methods are also valid (and scientifically
accepted) methods for increasing or decreasing overall fertility. It's
beyond the scope of this FAQ to cover all aspects of fertility, but
paying attention to the following elements is certainly relevant:
A key to increasing fertility overall is charting time of ovulation
during every monthly cycle. The three most common methods for
determining ovulation are:
charting basal body temperature (BBT)
charting changes in cervical mucus
- (3) using
an ovulation test-kit. There are many good resources for obtaining
information on all these methods, and on increasing fertility in
Regarding sex selection in particular, it is beyond question that
having sex very close to the time of ovulation is an important way to
increase the overall odds for conception. Other methods that are known
to increase odds for conception include: deep penetration at the time
of ejaculation; for women, having an orgasm together with or following
the man's orgasm; for men, wearing boxers instead of briefs; and for
men, avoiding hot baths or hot tubs.
- As you'll note, all of these also correspond with methods that
favor boys, according to Shettles. In fact, he cautions that
conceiving a girl may take considerably longer than conceiving a
boy, *and* may take longer than conceiving using no techniques at
- The Point: If you have trouble conceiving in general, or think you
might have such trouble, the techniques for choosing a girl baby might
not be for you -- unless you're willing to be patient!
[NOTE from Roger: I think my next project will be a FAQ on
"low-tech" ways to enhance fertility -- i.e., what you can
do at home, before you seek medical advice! This is a frequently-
asked-about topic on misc.kids.pregnancy]
3.1 ORIGINAL CALL FOR FAQ ANSWERS
Here is the text of my original call:
Please let me hear from you! I (we) would like to know your
experience with the following:
- 1. Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with any pregnancy, in
advance of conception?
- 2. Did you try any (or all) of the techniques outlined by Dr.
Shettles in his book? If so, which ones? Please describe.
- 3. Did you try any other techniques besides those in the Shettles
- 4. Did you get pregnant as a result? What gender was the fetus or
baby (or babies, if multiples)?
- 5. Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other) methods presented
any difficulties for you or your partner? Please describe.
- 6. Overall, would you say you were satisfied with the whole thing?
(Did you get the "outcome" that you wanted?)
- 7. Any other comments?
And, a few procedural things:
Feel free to e-mail me with your answers. I know some of this is
kinda personal, so I promise to anonymize all the responses before I
save them for the FAQ (strip out headers, change any names in the body
of the text, and all that, per usual FAQ procedure.) You can even send
me your e-mail anonymously if you know how to do that.
- Overall, the experience on misc.kids and misc.kids.pregnancy has
tended to be more positive than negative. Overall, the responses to
date indicate that around 70 percent of all "tries" or
outcomes resulted in a "success -- a baby of the desired gender!
This is a small and definitely NON- random sample, and all *could*
have been due to chance, of course; nevertheless this unscientific
survey seems to indicate that Shettles' claims have some validity.
- By far the most commonly used method was the timing of intercourse.
Nearly everyone who responded used this method, and most had
successful results with it.
- The second-most common technique was the position and/or depth of
intercourse, which was also successful according to responses -- in
fact, the position/depth was the most successful technique of all,
proportionally, in obtaining the desired baby!
- The other Shettles techniques were tried less than five times, so
generalizations have to be more cautious. However, all three
techniques produced more successful than unsuccessful outcomes.
Here are some summary statistics:
21 = Total individuals responses to date26 = Total "outcomes" -- i.e., total of all conceptions by those who tried any of the Shettles techniques, or any other sex-selection technique(s)NOTE: Some folks who responded hadn't tried Shettles; some tried
Shettles multiple times; and some reported friends' Shettles tries!
Therefore, all the statistics below are based on number of outcomes,
not number of people.
21+ 5 = Number of outcomes that were successful