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Boy or Girl? Can You Choose The Sex of Your Baby?

Allison Hutton


The issues surrounding choosing the sex of a baby are controversial, to say the least. Those who are for gender selection feel that hereditary, gender-related diseases can be avoided, as well as allowing for "family balancing." Those who are opposed to gender selection feel that it is not our place to take nature into our own hands. Regardless of your stance on this subject, the fact remains, that there have been great advancements in this field. I am going to discuss three of the most popular.

The Shettles method of gender selection has been around for some time. Released in 1984, Dr. Shettles' Book "How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby", by Dr. Landrum B. Shettles, MD, and David M. Rorvik, instructs couples how to use the most favorable conditions to conceive a child of their selected gender.

To get the full picture of this method, I suggest reading the book. However, the premise of the Shettles' Method is as follows:
There are two types of sperm produced by men; the X (female) and Y (male). According to Dr. Shettles' studies, the male (Y) sperms are smaller, weaker, but faster than the female (X) sperm, which are bigger, stronger, but slower. By understanding this information, there are many things a couple can do favor the conception of a boys or girl. The most important aspect of gender selection is the timing of intercourse, during the monthly cycle. Therefore, a woman must know how her cycle runs, usually by keeping a chart for a few months in advance. The Shettles' Method suggests that the closer to ovulation you have sex, the better the chances are of having a boy. Again, this is because the male (Y) sperms are faster, and most often tend to reach the egg first. If you have sex 3 days or more prior to ovulation, you have a better chance of conceiving a girl. This result is due to the fact that the weaker male (Y) sperms tend to die sooner, and the female (X) sperms will be available larger amounts, and "healthier," whenever the egg is actually released. However, if a couple has sex from 2 days before ovulation, through a few days after ovulation, the chances are better for conceiving a boy. Finally, at approximately 48 hours before ovulation, the odds of conception are equal for either a boy or girl.

Other factors such as sexual position, depth of penetration, vaginal ph, female orgasm, sperm count, type of underwear worn by the male, body temperature and caffeine intake also play an important role in the Shettles' method. To get an entire overview of this method, I suggest reading the book.

A second popular choice among couples wanting to select the gender of their child is something called "Cytometric Separation Technology." The basic premise of this technology is that the female (X) and male (Y) sperm can be separated before fertilization, and based on the gender desired, and egg can be fertilized with only the male or female sperm. Although it is impossible to completely separate the X and Y sperm, this technology allows for more favorable conditions. Once the sample is sorted, those desiring a female child have a better than 90% chance of doing so. Those who prefer a male child have a better than 73% chance. For more information on this type of procedure, visit the Genetics and IVF Institute at

The third method in selecting gender is performed using information obtained about a woman's previous menstrual cycles. Dr. Eugen Jonas offers couples a service, which he claims to be 99% effective. After the initial consultation, Dr. Jonas analyzes information such as the length of a woman's cycle, gender of previous children, and average day of ovulation, to calculate what days of a cycle will bring a male or female child. This method is interesting, because conception would need to take place one year after you are presented with your information. For more information on this type of gender selection, you can visit Dr. Jonas' page at Regardless of your opinion on gender selection, I think that we call all agree that the best outcome is a healthy, happy baby; regardless of the gender.

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