Choosing the sex of your baby

Jill Blakeway, M.S. L. Ac.
“Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that my baby is a girl?”. This was a question that one of my patients asked me a couple of weeks ago. She already has a little boy and, although she’d be happy with another boy, she would dearly love a baby girl. She is not alone. A recent survey showed that almost 80% of couples do have a gender preference when trying to conceive a child. Obviously a healthy baby is the priority and for many of my patients, who have struggled with infertility, a healthy baby is all they dream of. But if you do want to tip the scales in one direction there are some (far from foolproof) things you can do.

The first thing to understand, if you want to influence the gender of your child, is how nature selects the sex of a baby. This is determined by the sperm. Each sperm contains one chromosome, an X for a girl and a Y for a boy. Nature has organized it so that there are slightly more male sperm than female – for every 100 female sperm there are 110 male ones. The ovum or eggs also only contain one chromosome but this is always an X. So if the sperm is carrying an X chromosome and it is combined with the X in the egg, the fetus will be a XX or girl. If the sperm is carrying a Y chromosome and it is combined with the X in the egg, then the fetus will be a XY or boy. Next we need to look at how the X and Y sperm differ. Y (boy) sperm are smaller and weaker than X (girl) sperm but they are speedier and can move faster than their female counterparts.

Bearing in mind that the X (girl) sperm are tougher (and I know we’ll get comments about THAT in the YinOva waiting room next week!) anything that makes it harder to conceive is more likely to result in a girl. Conversely, bearing in mind that Y (boy) sperm are speedier, anything that makes timing more accurate so that the fastest sperm reach the egg, is more likely to result in a boy. The areas where we can have some influence and affect the gender of an as-yet unconceived child are the timing of intercourse, sexual position and vaginal environment.

Timing intercourse to influence gender

If you have sex right at or near the time the egg is released, then the speedier Y (boy) sperm will make it to the egg quickly and you will most likely have a boy. If the sperm are released two or three days prior to when the egg is released the Y (boy) sperm will die off and there will be more X sperm left waiting for the egg to appear and fertilization will most likely produce a girl.

Sexual Positions and their effect on gender

Again remember that the X (girl) sperm are hardier so anything that makes it more difficult for the sperm to reach the egg favors them. The missionary position is the most beneficial position when it comes to conception and so is (slightly) more likely to result in a Y (boy) sperm reaching the egg first. Other positions that are shallower will give a small benefit to the X (girl) sperm.

Vaginal PH and it’s effect on gender outcome

The quicker but weaker Y (boy) sperm thrive in an alkaline environment whereas an acidic PH will give the X (girl) sperm a bit of an edge since the environment will be too harsh for the Y (boy) sperm. So you may want to try to create an acidic PH to conceive a girl baby. With this in mind some have found that a diet high in calcium and magnesium can favor a girl and a diet high in potassium and sodium can favor a boy. Having an orgasm can effect the vaginal PH as it creates an alkaline environment that is more favorable to boys.

There are some other, unproven, methods that some of my patients have told me about over the years. One is Lydia Pinkham’s Herbal Compound. This is a Victorian fertility tonic which is thought to help women conceive a girl, because it creates an acidic environment in the vagina. Another is the Chinese Conception chart which was first discovered in a royal tomb near Beijing more than 700 years ago. The chart cross-references the baby’s month of conception and the mother’s age to predict gender. Some studies claim the chart is more than 90% accurate and I have to admit that our YinOva mothers that have used it have had success. You can find an explanation of the chart here.

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