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Archive-name: misc-kids/pregnancy/babys-sex

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-Modified: July 11, 1996

This is the / FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions) file "Choosing Your
Baby's Sex FAQ."


1.1  Copyright Notice, Authorship, Disclaimer, and
     Legal Sludge in General
1.2  What's This FAQ About?
1.3  Where Did This FAQ Come From?

2.1  Summary of Shettles Methods
2.2  A Note About Overall Fertility

3.1  Original Call for FAQ Answers
3.2  Summary of Responses to Call for FAQ Answers
3.3  Individual Responses to Call for FAQ Answers,
     plus Miscellaneous Posts on this Subject
3.4  The Hunts' "Shettles Success Story"


Copyright   1996, Roger A. Hunt.  Use and copying of
this information are permitted as long as (1) no fees
or compensation are charged for use, copies or access
to this information, and (2) this copyright notice is
included intact.

Authorship:  This FAQ is compiled and maintained by
Roger Hunt -- semi-frequent and contributor; college professor of
geography and planning (*not* of biology, although I
do specialize in fertility, contraception, and
medical geography); AND spouse for one wife, dad for
three kids (the last of whom is a "Shettles success-
story" - with a twist! - see Sec. 3.4 below). 
Whenever you see the "I" "me" "my" references in this
FAQ, they usually refer to me, Roger -- except in
Sec. 3.3, of course.

Disclaimer:  This is information collected from many
sources and while I have tried to be accurate and
complete, I cannot guarantee that I have succeeded. 
This is not medical advice.  For that, see your
doctor or other health care provider.


For a long time now (tens of thousands of years would
be my guess), people have wanted to know if it's
possible to influence the sex of a baby before
conception.  Just as it's natural that the first
question your family and friends ask upon hearing
about a new baby is often "Boy or girl?" -- it's also
natural that you and/or your partner would wonder
"How can we influence whether the baby we conceive is
a boy or a girl?"

This FAQ is an attempt at answering this basic
question.  Based on the sources in section 1.3 below,
there is some evidence that you can alter the odds. 
Instead of a near-50/50 "roll of the dice," you may
be able to increase the odds in favor of conceiving
either a girl or a boy to as high as 80 percent, or
as low as 50.0001 percent (depending on whom you
believe, as outlined below.)
     BIG FAT WARNING, though:  Scientific tests,
     other than those of Shettles himself and his
     associates, do not at this point establish that
     the Shettles methods (or any others) are valid. 
     In fact, there are purportedly studies showing
     that trying the Shettles techniques may increase
     your odds of conceiving the OTHER sex! -- though
     finding these studies seems to be an elusive
     task.  In any event, be forewarned.


It is primarily based on three sources:
a)   A summary of the most recent edition of the
     premier book on this subject:  _How to Choose
     the Sex of Your Baby_, by Dr. Landrum B.
     Shettles, MD, and David M. Rorvik, copyright
          NOTE: I *strongly* recommend that you read
          Shettles' book all the way through before
          trying the methods outlined herein.
b)   Responses to a "call for FAQ information" posted
     several times on and during September and
     October, 1995.
c)   Various independently-posted items during 1995-
     1996 on and

**   The full citation for Sheetles' book is as
          follows: Shettles, Landrum B. (M.D.,
          Ph.D.), and Rorvik, David M. (1989) _How
          to Choose the Sex of Your Baby: The
          Method Best Supported by the Scientific
          Evidence (newly-revised edition).  New
          York: Doubleday.  229 pp.
          ISBN: 0-385-24442-8 (trade paperback).
     (My copy, bought in April 1996, sold for
          $12.95 US or $16.95 Canadian - RAH).

Concerning part (b) above:  In the process of
deciding whether and how my wife and I should proceed
with having our 3rd baby, I asked for others'
experiences with methods, both Dr. Shettles'
techniques and others, concerning choosing your
baby's sex.  The question I asked was if any method
or methods were successful in improving the odds of
getting either a boy or a girl.  After getting some
encouraging responses (many of which are reproduced
anonymously below), and after seeing others post the
same question, I thought it was time for a FAQ.  So I
posted my original "call for FAQ information,"
Section 3.1 below.

Also, for those interested in a summarized (but still
thorough) rendering of Shettles' methods, an
excellent resource is Toni Weschler's 1995 book
_Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive
Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy
Achievement_.  Chapter 17, titled "Choosing the Sex
of Your Baby," is a good synopsis of Shettles.  Not
incidentally, this book is also the single best
source I know about for fertility-realted information
in general.


The following summary of the methods outlined in Dr.
Shettles' book is based partly on an excellent
summary posted by contributor Ana
Silva in September 1995, and partly on my
modifications. Thanks for permission, Ana!

--------- BEGIN SHETTLES 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 sibling 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
(For those with a precise turn of mind, Shettles
clarifies even further [p. 187]: from zero to 24
hours before ovulation, intercourse is more likey to
result in a boy; from 24 to 96 hours before, a girl
is more likely; and the further away from that 24-
hour dividing line in either direction, the better
the odds.)

(2)  Position of intercourse and depth of penetration
are important, partly because of acidity/alkalinity
of the woman's reproductive tract (see sec. (6)
below). The closer to the entrance to the vagina, the
more acidic the pH of women's tract. 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.

(3)  Women's orgasms can also be important. This also
has to do with pH. When a woman has an orgasm, the
body releases a substance that makes the environment
more alkaline, favoring boys. Shettles recommends no
female orgasms when trying for girls!

(4)  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, the man should not
have an ejaculation for 3 days before reaching the
target date a day or two before ovulation.
(Intercourse earlier than 3 days before ovulation
should be with a condom only.)  For girls, have sex
every day from the first day after your period ends,
and stop 3 days before ovulation.  (No intercourse
even with a condom during that time.)
     (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
     (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 an advantage.

(5)  In trying for a boy, Shettles recommends a nice
cup of caffeinated coffee for the man, right before
intercourse -- he isn't clear on how or why this
works, but apparently it gives the Y-sperms a jolt!

(6)  Concerning douching and the pH of the women's
reproductive tract:  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. (Note:  Some women are
naturally very acidic and have a hard time conceiving
Shettles *formerly* recommended two douching-methods
(involving vinegar or baking soda) to help alter
vaginal pH.  However, in the most recent update (c.
1989) of his book, he no longer recommends douching
at all.  His comment (pp. 179-180) is that one can
get equally-good results with or without the douches
recommended earlier.
     (Because many on the newsgroups who responded in
     Sec. 3.3 below were using the older versions of
     Shettles' book, there are a number of anecdotes
     including the use of douches as well as other
     Shettles methods.  It's important to emphasize
     that, although it won't do any harm if done
     properly, Shettles no longer recommends douching
     as part of his methods.  He does strongly
     recommend that nobody begin douching, for *any*
     reason, without consulting her health-care

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 100%!!!

Also, Shettles recommends a "practice" period of 3-6
months, to make sure the couple has all the
techniques down properly.

--------- END SHETTLES SUMMARY -----------


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: (1) charting basal body temperature
(BBT); (2) charting changes in cervical mucus; and/or
(3) using an ovulation test-kit.  There are many good
resources for obtaining information on all these
methods, and on increasing fertility in general.

*    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:  I also compiled and maintain a FAQ on
     low-tech ways to help you conceive -- i.e., what
     you can do at home, before you seek medical
     advice.  It is posted monthly (in multiple
     parts) on the same newsgroups as this FAQ, plus
     alt.infertility and, and
     is also available on the Web at

     or by emailing me.


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 book?

     "4.   Did you get pregnant as a result?  What
     gender was the fetus or baby (or babies, if

     "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.

"You can also post to either or, and I'll save any responses I
see to this thread on either group.  BUT: E-mail is
preferable! to help our already high-traffic groups
stay manageable in size."


Overall, the experience on and 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:

22        =    Total individuals responses to date
27        =    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.
22+ 5     =    Number of outcomes that were successful
                    (a baby or babies of the sex wanted)
                    + number of outcomes that were
20+ 6     =    Number of successful + unsuccessful
                    outcomes including the following
                    Shettles method:  timing of
 1+ 1     =    Number of successful + unsuccessful
                    outcomes including the following
                    Shettles method: acidic / alkaline
 7+ 1     =    Number of successful + unsuccessful
                    outcomes including the following
                    Shettles method: position of
                    intercourse / depth of penetration
 4+ 1     =    Number of successful + unsuccessful
                    outcomes including the following
                    Shettles method: orgasm / no orgasm
                    for woman
 5+ 0     =    Number of successful + unsuccessful
                    outcomes including the following
                    Shettles method: hot bath / boxers
                    for man
 1+ 0     =    Number of successful + unsuccessful
                    outcomes including the following
                    Shettles method: coffee for man


NOTE:  Most of these are actual responses to my call
for FAQ answers; a few are posts on and/or  I have made no changes except
to strip out all identifying information, plus a few
minor formatting changes.

Each response is separated by a row of plus-signs.

It can be done. The 'technique' uses the basis
premise that the y sperms are fast and mobile and the
x sperms are less mobile, but more long-lasting. So,
the deal is that the closer that you can time
intercourse to the time of ovulation, the better
chances you have of having a boy. Because the little
boy sperms are going to swim right up there, and get
there first. But, if you time intercourse for a few
days BEFORE ovulation, the little boy sperms have all
swum their hearts out and are dead. But the little
girl sperms are meandering their way up the
vagina/fallopian tubes, and so when ovulation occurs,
they're there.

I'll tell you my experience. My first child was a
girl, and what they call, 'an accident.' I had been
taking precautions, but obviously, not good enough.
Those 'little girl' sperms stayed around long enough
to do the deed. But with my second child, I wanted a
boy, to round out the family. So, I got this book,
and followed their advice. Fortunately, for me, after
my first pregnancy, my periods regulated themselves
so that I could almost tell, precisely, when I was
actually ovulating, with the mucous excretions, and
such. So, for my boy, we timed intercourse to match
EXACTLY with those signs. And lo and behold, we had a

In trying for a girl, it's a little more tricky. You
have to time intercourse for about three days BEFORE
ovulation. That way, the little boy sperms will have
died, but the little girls will still be around.

Hey, it's worth a shot. It worked, for me. But get
the book and read what those doctors say.

Funny you should ask.  When we decided to go ahead
with number three, we thought it would be fun to
'try' for a boy.  A friend recommended <the Shettles>
book.  I checked it out of the library.  It outlines
methods to try for a boy or girl, mostly based on
timing.  The book claims 80% effectivness.  We fall
in the 20% noneffective, which is perfectly fine, I
love little girls! :)

There are also ovulation kits you can buy OTC, which
claim to be able to try for a particular gender.

BTW, I have this theory that the more children that a
couple has of one particular gender, the greater
likelihood that subsequent children will also be of
that gender.

Yes, I read Shettles book and was going to try for a
girl.  We were using Natural Family Planning (sort
of) and weren't really  trying to conceive, but did. 
I did chart many signs though and  can relay them for
your study.

We had intercourse 5 days before my temperature rose
(girl).  I  did not say "ovulated" because it is hard
to say exactly when  ovulation occurred.  We did it
from behind (boy) and I did not orgasm (girl).  We
did not have intercourse again for about a week and
used a condom.  We had a baby boy. According to 
Shettles, I think it should have been a girl.

My friend also uses Natural Family Planning, and used
her temp  and mucous to have intercourse 2 days
before ovulation, hoping  for a girl.  She is having
a boy. (I do not know any of her other signals.)

I would be interested to know if anyone had
luck/experience  using a douche.  I have heard of
these for either boys or girls.

>7.   Any other comments?

I was not trying for any sex in particular, but we
had intercourse and conceived either on or shortly
after ovulation.  We had a boy so this supports what
Shettles says about timing.

>1.   Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with
any pregnancy, in advance of conception?

We very much wanted a girl.

>2.   Did you try any (or all) of the techniques
outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book?  If so, which
ones?  Please describe.

We pretty much tried to do all of them: timing (I
think it was two days prior to ovulation - oh, and I
"charted" BBT for about three months before we
started "trying"); position (shallow penetration); no
orgasm for me. I didn't do a douche, and my diet
tends toward "pro-girl" (dairy, beans, etc.) anyway.
There's another book about selecting your baby's
gender, written by <Sally Langedoen and William
Proctor>.  Basically the diet thing is related to the
pH factor and is pretty simple: for a girl, lots of
legumes and dairy, and for a boy, more meat and salt.

>3.   Did you try any other techniques besides those
in the Shettles book?

see above. we also, at the crucial moment, said
"Think GIRL!"

>4.   Did you get pregnant as a result?  What gender
was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)?

Pregnant on first try, and it was (and is) a girl.

>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

yeah, and yeah, though I don't know how much was just
chance (and my family leans heavily towards girls, so
that may be a factor as well).

Here are my responses to your post re:  choosing the
sex of your baby.

1.  Yes, we wanted a girl with this (current -- six
months along) pregnancy.  WE already have a boy.

2.  We used Shettles book and mainly relied on BBT
and guessing at my cycles to predict ovulation.  I
don't have much cerv. mucus so that was hard to use. 
So, anticipating my ovulation date, we had sex 3 days
prior to ovulation.

3.  No other techniques.

4.  Yes, pregnant now with a girl on the first try.

5.  Not really any difficulties.

6.  Yes, very very satisfied!  A no-cost, painless
way to (maybe) get our girl.  Of course, we'll never
know, but my attitude was it can't hurt to try.  By
the way, I called an ob/gyn I know to ask about
Shettles and he said his opinion was you can "tip the
scales" a little, like maybe up your odds to 55/45 or
60/40, with the Shettles method.

I'll be interested to hear others' experiences.  Also
if people plan to keep trying even if it means
expanding their families beyond their ideals.  We had
firmly decided that two was IT whether this one was a
boy or girl.  I'm just happy to have my <girl> on the

I'd be interested in the stats, even if it's not a
true statistical sample!  BTW, my husband and I were
talking about this recently, and he brought up the
fact that the people who try this method are the very
people who probably have a higher chance of  having
one particular gender of baby.  Good point, eh?

>1.   Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with
any pregnancy, in advance of conception?

A boy

>2.   Did you try any (or all) of the techniques
outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book?  If so, which
ones?  Please describe.

Yes, we followed the advice exactly.  Observed
cervical secretions (I also did basal temperature for
confirmation, and it did confirm ovulation as I had
predicted it) ; timed I/C for the exact day of
ovulation; douched with (??) baking soda sol'n; hubby
had a big 44 oz diet coke before (in lieu of 
coffee); and the appropriate position (??) doggie

>3.   Did you try any other techniques besides those
in the Shettles book?


>4.   Did you get pregnant as a result?  What gender
was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)?

Yes, pregnancy was acheived in one month, and we had
a third baby girl :-)

>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

Well, we did it for the fun of it, so it didn't
matter that we didn't get a boy.  (besides, we never
had to make the cir- (won't complete that word)

> 1.   Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl
with any pregnancy, in advance of conception?

Yes, we were trying for a boy with our 3rd. (We had 2
daughters already)

> 2.   Did you try any (or all) of the techniques
outlined by Dr. Shettles in his book?  If so, which
ones?  Please describe.

I used the method of altering the alkalinity of the
vagina which is supposed to favor the life of one
sperm over another. I used a baking-soda douch before

> 3.   Did you try any other techniques besides those
in the Shettles book?

Timing: I tried to time conception as close to
ovulation as I could.
> 4.   Did you get pregnant as a result?  What gender
was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)?

Yes - we had our son in May of <year>.
> 5.   Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other)
methods presented any difficulties for you or your
partner?  Please describe.

No, it was really fairly simple.

> 6.   Overall, would you say you were satisfied with
the whole thing?  (Did you get the "outcome" that you


> 7.   Any other comments?

I think it's important to note that in doing this
there are NO GUARANTEES and you have to enter into it
with the mindset that you will welcome a child of the
either sex regardless of the outcome. (ie: You should
have a baby because you want another child, NOT
because you are trying for a given sex)

]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.

Yes.  Charted BBT and mucus, and timed intercourse to
hopefully be 3 days before ovulations.

]3.   Did you try any other techniques besides those
in the Shettles book?


]4.   Did you get pregnant as a result?  What gender
was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)?

Yes.  Female.

]5.   Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other)
methods presented any difficulties for you or your
partner?  Please describe.

Not really.

]6.   Overall, would you say you were satisfied with
the whole thing?  (Did you get the "outcome" that you

Yes, we were satisfied (we got the girl we wanted). 
But we would have been satisfied with _any_ live
baby, no matter what the gender.

Okey, I'll try to answer your questions.

Before our first child there were no discussion.
Suddenly one day we said YES we want a child. I
thought it was too late that period, the day after
ovulation, but I was wrong. One "try" and I was

To my surprise a baby boy was born. I hadn't read
Shettles then.

One year later we tried for a girl. I had full
control over my ovulation after checking BBT for a
while. My periods were regular. We had sex 3 days
before ovulation for two months but no - I didn't
became pregnant. We thought we should give it one
more try before the "rabbit-method". And YES I became
pregnant!!! Due to chance or science - it was a

After that i told my friends about it. Two of them,
both mothers to boys, tried the same method and both
of them gave birth to girls. Which, of course, made
me very happy!

Another friend of mine who has one girl and then one
boy tried for another girl. #3 was a boy.

I don't know if I believe in Shettle's method or not
but if I ever try for another baby, I will use the

To answer shortly to your question about if we used
any other of Shettles methods than "timing", the
answer is no.  Not on purpose anyway.

For what it's worth, here's what probably amounts to
an urban myth, but one that turned out to be true
(maybe) in our case.  Right before we conceived our
daughter, my husband had taken a loooong, *hot* bath. 
I read or heard somewhere, after the fact, that sperm
carrying the Y chromosome are more heat sensitive
than sperm carrying the X.  My husband was at room
temperature, so to speak, when we conceived #2, and
voila: a boy.  Of course, any number of variables
probably had a lot more to do with the outcomes...

.. what could be an important[:-)] variable: *I* had
soaked in the hot tub before my husband did.

.. Despite the 'failures' that have also been
reported in this thread, I still hold a lot of stock
with Shettle's methods. It makes intuitive sense, to
me. For the 'failures,' ie the woman who conceived
the girl right at ovulation, there are other factors,
which Shettle's takes into account. The primary one
being the pH factor of the woman's vaginal tract
secretions. As I recall, acidic likes the little girl
sperms and the opposite, the little boy ones. And
some women are just generally acidic. No matter what,
they'll only conceive girls, just the way their
bodies are. And perhaps for <name>, her body is such
that her secretions give the little boy sperms the

This subject pops up now and then (pun!) on  I asked the same question not
too long ago.  The short answer is "probably not". 
Our pediatrician and my wife's OB/GYN guy feel this

What I heard from other netters is: The sperm
carrying X chromosomes are slower, but more durable
than sperm carrying Y chromosomes.  If you're trying
for a girl, you'd have intercourse a couple of days
_before_ ovulation, using a missionary position that
allows for shallow penetration, the theory being that
the more durable sperm carrying the X chromosome will
last longer and outperform the faster, but weaker, Y
chromosome sperm.  If you're trying for a boy, you'd
have intercourse _at_ ovulation, using a deeply
penetrating position, so the fast Y sperm would get
to the egg first...  Arf.

There was also some speculation that the X chromosome
sperm survived better in an acidic environment, Y
sperm in a basic environment, hence the talk you may
hear about vinegar douches...

I can't vouch for any of this, and my gut feeling is
that if you _do_ actually make a difference, it's
probably on the order of 50.00001 vs. 49.99999 rather
than 51/49.

My wife and I gave up on timing ovulation, etc.  We
just try to not be too damn worn out when <first
child's> asleep...!

Best of luck!

Keep in mind that _any_ baby is the right baby,
_your_ baby!

When I was in <Thailand> two years ago, I visited a
private hospital and noticed the advertisment on the
hospital wall. They claimed that they can help select
the sex of the baby. My Thai relatives also suggested
me to pay a visit to Thai fertility doctor so that I
my next baby would be boy. I have two girls and no
intention of having another baby (boy nor girl). So,
I just laughed it off.  I also remember a few years
back, 20/20 or one of those similar show did a story
on Thai doctor who discover the the sex selection
method which have high successfull rate. I can't
quote exact data, It's been long time.  But I guess
it works, that why most of the private hospitals in
Thailand offer this service.

One more things, though, it seems that most of people
who use this sex selection service are hoping for
boy. The requirement for the parent to be is that
they must already have at least 2 girls before
receiving this treatment (according to the TV show
mention above). This is to balance the female/male
population.   I don't know whether this requirement
is still hold true or not.  May be I should check it
out next time I visit Thailand, just in case :-)

About sex selection:

I've just completed a Ph.D. dissertation on sex
ratios of newborn rats, and have a pretty good handle
on the literature (even for humans!).  The "speedy Y,
hardy X" theory has not held up.  In the aggregate,
the studies on timing of intercourse suggest an
opposite effect:  intercourse several days before
ovulation produces males, and intercourse immediately
before ovulation produces females.  But these effects
are very slight, if they are even there.  My favorite
study set out to test the "speedy Y, hardy X" theory
and gave prospective parents instructions for how to
proceed for the child of their choice -- and 69% of
them got a child of the OTHER sex. 

By the way, for what it's worth, rats have more males
in their litters when they mate early in the evening,
and females when they mate closer to ovulation (rat
cycles are four days long, not four weeks, so we
measure timing of mating relative to ovulation in
terms of hours, not days).  However, the skewing
occurs  through loss of pups after implantation, and
not at conception.

I have two children and both times we were trying I
*know* we had  intercourse about 2 days *before* I
ovulated. We have two girls! It worked for us and we
weren't even trying for a specific sex. 

I had heard that hot baths can cause  problems for
the mans fertility. My husband loved hot baths and
was cut off from them while we were trying to get me

We tried for a girl the third time around, and ended
up with our third son. (I am dyslexic-sp?) so maybe I
did it backwards?! Anyway be assured that whatever
the sex it's great having another baby.

1st two babies:  had intercourse when ovulation kit
said I was ovulating.  (So we inadvertently used the
timing scheme for the Shettle's method for having
boys.)  Both pregnancies started on first month of
trying. Results:   boys

3rd baby:  Had read Shettles' book.  Used only the
TIMING part of the Shettles method for having a girl.
Tried to use the "no orgasm for the woman" part but
declined using it on the particular day that we
conceived. Used VERY conservative timing ---
intercourse 3 to 4 days before  ovulation.   Took 7
months to get pregnant.  Result:  girl  

1.   Did you want to try to get a boy or a girl with
any pregnancy, in advance of conception?

Yes.  I had a boy, and wanted a girl.

2.   Did you try any (or all) of the techniques
outlined by Dr. Shettles in  his book?  If so, which
ones?  Please describe.

Mainly the vinegar douche, and timing conception. 
This was 23 years ago, so I cannot remember the
details.  I don't think I knew my cycles were longer,
and therefore, I ovulated longer.  For me, I think
the Vinegar made me too acidic, and therefore killed
the sperm.  We tried for 9 months.  The one time I
did not douche, we got pregnant, and guess what, a
wonderful son, who is now an adult !!  Sigh.  Never
did have that daughter...

3.   Did you try any other techniques besides those
in the Shettles book?


4.   Did you get pregnant as a result?  What gender
was the fetus or baby (or babies, if multiples)?

Yes, a wonderful son.

5.   Did you find that any of Shettles' (or other)
methods presented any difficulties for you or your
partner?  Please describe.

Douching is a pain in the neck. And the highly acidic
vaginal pH has not been discussed.

6.   Overall, would you say you were satisfied with
the whole thing?  (Did  you get the "outcome" that
you wanted?)

Nope, did not get my daughter, but we love our son. I
guess I was just slated to have sons...I wish the
results were more dependable...

For any future reference ... the Shettles methods
ring true for us. In trying to fall pregnant we timed
intercourse with ovulation exactly (I knew my body
pretty well by this stage through BBT, mucous etc)
and when we FINALLY achieved pregnancy we had our
precious little boy. After this we were unsure that
we would be able to achieve another pregnancy but
were not concerned. As I had no period between the
birth of number 1 and our second baby its hard to
tell when ovulation occured but we had a girl.
Interestingly the diet mentioned is so true for me!
When we conceived our son I was eating foods high in
salt, savoury etc and when we conceived our daughter
my diet consisted heavily of dairy products,and
calcium rich foods (as I was breastfeeding our baby
at the time) Oh yeh, the sex positions also seem to
tally! Alot of couples we know who have had problems
falling pregnant and finally do, have ALL had baby
boys (5), they time intercourse with ovulation pretty
closely to have the best posible chance of falling

I found this while looking for something else, and
thought you needed it for your FAQ. :-) Not that it's
very useful, but possibly interesting.

Unique Identifier
     Weinberg CR.  Baird DD.  Wilcox AJ.
     The sex of the baby may be related to the length
     of the follicular phase in the conception cycle.
     Human Reproduction.  10(2):304-7, 1995 Feb.
MeSH Subject Headings
     Adult, Cohort Studies, Female, *Follicular
     Phase, Human, Infant, Newborn, Male, Pregnancy,
     Prospective Studies, *Sex Determination, Time
     "In a prospective study of normal couples
     discontinuing contraception to begin a
     pregnancy, the days of ovulation were estimated
     by hormonal assay of daily urine specimens. No
     hormonal interventions were used. Length of the
     follicular phase (from onset of menses to
     ovulation) was found to be related to the sex of
     the baby among 133 pregnancies that survived to
     delivery. Conception cycles with short
     follicular phases (early ovulation) tended to
     produce boys, while those with long follicular
     phases tended to produce girls. This
     relationship is consistent with other data and
     could explain sex-related differences in the
     length of gestation and the observed excess of
     same-sex pairs among dizygotic twins."

I happened to ovulate two days late when I conceived
my [baby], though.


After getting different nonsensical news reports
about the New England  Journal of Medicine article, I
went and got the real thing.  The study was done 
with fertile couples only.  They tried to answer 4
[first three snipped] and (4) can a couple influence
the sex of the baby by altering the time of 
They also didn't find any correlation between timing
of intercourse and sex of  the child.  So much for
the idea that the guy sperm swim faster than the gal 
sperm (or vice versa?): at least not enough to matter
in the uterus under  "normal" conditions.

By the way, they monitored the couples in the study
quite closely and  estimated time of ovulation based
on chemicals in the daily urine specimens.

I'm not an expert on all of this by any means, but
this article is fairly  straightforward.

[A.J. Wilcox, C.R. Weinberg, D.D. Baird (1995) Timing
of sexual intercourse in relation to
ovulation--Effects on the probability of conception,
survival of the pregnancy, and sex of the baby. NEJM
vol. 333 no. 23, pp. 1517-21.  Pub. date 12/7/95]. 
There's an accompanying editorial pp. 1563-1564.

----- end individual responses --------------------


Why this section?  Well, mainly because so many
people on m.k and m.k.p folllowed the progress of our
3rd baby, from my initial questions about Shettles,
through conception and pregnancy, to our baby
Jasper's birth in June 1996 -- that I figured it's
public information now.  Besides, I already posted
the relevant details below.  And finally, it gives
the FAQ more credibility, I think, when I tell you
that we laid our reputations on the line, so to speak

So, the Hunt story:

For our first baby we didn't know about Shettles, and
we weren't concerned about whether our baby was a boy
or girl.  We also didn't know when my wife ovulated,
and in fact most all our knowledge about conception
centered around outdated ideas about the rhythm
method, along with my wife's "gut feeling" that her
monthly cervical-fluid (or mucus) pattern was related
to overall fertility.  We did have one advantage: my
wife has an extraordinarily regular, 30-day monthly
cycle (the kind you can set your clocks by - you
know, "we'd better go home now, sweetie, my period's
gonna start in 17.5 minutes" :-)).  She had of course
never charted BBTs (and still hasn't to this day). 
Overall, though, baeed mostly on her cycle-
regularity, we knew approximately what time of the
month she was fertile.

In retrospect, timing seems to have been the critical
variable.  We had our minds made up that we wanted to
conceive NOW, so during the fertile week we had
intercourse around 9 or 10 times -- at least every
day, and sometimes twice a day.  (This sounds like
more fun that it is, believe me :-).  We did conceive
that first month of trying, and we undoubtedly hit
the day of ovulation right on the nose.

Also this first time, we happened to use some of the
other "boy" methods in Shettles' book, as we found
out later -- position (rear-entry about 60-70 percent
of the time), penetration (deep), female orgasm
(yes), no hot baths for me, and I was wearing boxers
for part of the time leading up to conception (I have
always switched back & forth between boxers and
briefs, which probably just confuses those poor
sperms hopelessly!)  I also drink a lot of coffee,
though usually not after around 2 pm.  Result:  Our
first baby was a boy.

For our 2nd, we "sort-of" wanted a girl, but we still
didn't know about Shettles.  We had become a little
more sophistiacted, and were timing ovulation by the
cervical-fluid method.  This baby took 3-4 months to
conceive, primarily because we couldn't seem to hit
close enough to ovulation -- the result of having a
very active (and sleepless) 2.5-year-old :-). 
Finally, in hopes of increasing the odds for overall
conception, we again used the "rabbit method" during
the relevant week -- frequent sex starting about a
week before ovulation, through several days
afterward.  The other techniques were the same as the
first time, except that I was wearing the boxers
full-time (partly for fertility, partly because it
was July in Virginia :-)).  Our 2nd baby was also a

As for Number 3, our real Shettles success story:  We
DID know about Shettles this time, thanks to my
initial queries on m.k and m.k.p, and we wanted to
try for a girl.  But, the twist in this story is that
we did it all backwards!  Specifically, by the time
we decided to go for it, we were already in mid-
cycle.  So, we decided to use September as a
"practice month" (i.e., let's enjoy sex without
contraception for once), and were going to give
Shettles a *serious try in October.  (You can tell
where this is going to end up, can't you? :-))

We quit using the condoms on Day 19, which was 2 days
after what we *thought* was ovulation, based on the
fluid quantity and quality.  In hindsight, this
timing apparently placed intercourse right on the day
of ovulation or a bit after (we suspect this might be
one of the unusual times when intercourse after
ovulation resulted in conception).  We had rear-entry
intercourse, deep penetration, female orgasm, no hot
baths, and boxers.  We had sex two days later, but
weren't able to have intercourse again for about a
week after that (Day 28), and figured that Day 20
would bring my wife's period like clockwork as usual. 
Oops :-).

As you might guess, our third baby is a boy, too!

(And no, we don't plan to test Shettles again; three
kids is our planned maximum.  However, if there are
any accidents, it appears more likely that we will
have a 4th boy, if the pattern is any guide!)


     END of / FAQ
     (Frequently Asked Questions) file "Choosing the
     Sex of Your Baby FAQ."


Roger, dad for Zachary (Dec 22 '89), Elliot (Apr 17 '93), and
Jasper (Jun 6 '96) - p. 40 in 1996 m.k Photoalbum

~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
real name:     Roger A. Hunt
real home:     Grand Valley State University,
                    Allendale/Grand Rapids/Holland, Michigan
---> "Cruising the Information Superhighway at 35 miles per hour,
          in the passing lane... with a hat on."

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Got to read this, article on sex determination of a baby. Real informative stuff.

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