Gender selection, the process of predetermining the sex of your baby, is a controversial topic in medicine. Personal and societal pressures have led people to attempt to selectively conceive boys or girls for millennia. This has led to much superstition and hearsay surrounding the topic. Today, modern medical technology allows parents to choose the sex of their children, though the most effective methods remain costly and time-intensive. Other, less-well verified techniques also exist for choosing a baby’s sex — though most doctors and fertility experts regard these methods as ineffective, some research results claim that these techniques may increase the chances of conceiving a boy or girl. To learn several methods to increase your chances of having a boy, see Step 1 below to get started.
1. Determine the mother’s ovulation date. The Shettles Method is a collection of techniques purported to be useful for increasing the chance of conceiving babies of the desired sex. According to the Shettles Method, having sex as close to ovulation as possible increases the odds of having a boy. If you don’t already know when the mother is likely to ovulate, follow the instructions below to determine your ovulation date:
- Observe the cervical mucus each day. Right before ovulation, the mucus should be elastic and watery, similar in consistency to a raw egg white. Shettles recommends charting the cervical mucus for at least a month prior to conception.
- Take your temperature each morning before you get out of bed. Just after ovulation, your temperature will spike. Because you will want to have sex as close to ovulation as possible, it is advised to chart your BBT at least 2 months prior to conception to get a sense for when your ovulation is likely to occur in the following month.
- Use an ovulation predictor kit. These kits, which are available at most pharmacies or through online suppliers, detect when your body releases luteinizing hormone (LH) prior to ovulation. To catch the LH surge as soon as possible, Shettles recommends testing twice a day, preferably between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the first test and between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. for the second test.
2.Have the father maximize his sperm count.
The Shettles Method recommends that the father should takes steps to ensure that his sperm count is as high as possible to raise the chance of a successful pregnancy from a single session of sex. Most importantly, this means that the father should abstain from orgasm for about 2-5 days before ovulation. However, a variety of other factors can also affect sperm count. The tips below can help you get a high sperm count and ensure the sperm are as healthy as possible:
- Keep the testes cool. Sperm production is at its highest when the testes are slightly cooler than body temperature. Avoid tight-fitting underwear, hot tubs, and warm laptops.
- Don’t smoke or drink. Men who smoke and drink heavily are more likely to have low sperm count. If you’re having a hard time quitting, talk to your doctor.
- Don’t take illegal drugs. Marijuana has been shown to have a similar effect as cigarettes when it comes to sperm count. Cocaine and other types of hard drugs are also known to hamper sperm production.
- Avoid certain medications. A variety of medications can affect a man’s fertility — some, like chemotherapy medications, can even make a man permanently infertile. If you are currently taking serious medications, talk to your doctor about your fertility goals. You may be encouraged to make and store a sperm sample to ensure that you’ll be able to conceive in the future.
3. Have sex as close to ovulation as possible.
When the woman is sure that she is ovulating, the couple should have sex. In general, aim to have sex in the narrow window starting 24 hours before ovulation and ending 12 hours after ovulation. During this time, according to the Shettles Method, conceiving a boy is more likely.
- The Shettles Method operates under the assumption that, under perfect conditions, male sperm, which are small and fast, but fragile, can reach the egg faster than female sperm which are large and slow, but strong. According to the Shettles Method, the reason that additional children are conceived in a 50:50 ratio normally is that some fragile male sperm die in the birth canal. By having sex as close to ovulation as possible, you ensure that sperm can reach the egg basically immediately, rather than having to wait, which (allegedly) ensures as many male sperm remain alive as possible.
4. Have sex in a rear-entry position.
The Shettles Method advises using sexual positions that encourage deep penetration, such as a rear-entry position, when trying to conceive a boy. The logic behind this is that ejaculating during deep-penetration sex places the sperm as close as possible to the cervix, giving the fast-moving male sperm an advantage. On the other hand, with shallow penetration, sperm may be deposited farther from the cervix, which means that the more durable female sperm (which can survive longer in the vagina) may have the advantage.
5. Attempt to give the woman an orgasm during sex.
According to the Shettles method, male sperm, which are more fragile than female sperm, tend to die faster in the acidic environment inside the vagina. With this logic, giving the woman an orgasm can improve the chances of the male sperm. During female orgasm, extra cervical fluid is released, decreasing the acidity inside the vagina. This makes the environment more hospitable to male sperm, increasing the chances that they make it to the egg alive. Preferably, the woman’s orgasm is achieved immediately before the father ejaculates.
- The Shettles Method also claims that the orgasmic contractions can help push the sperm into the cervix faster.
- If the woman can’t achieve orgasm, don’t be discouraged — it’s not essential.
6. Avoid attempts to conceive before or after ovulation.
The Shettles Method only claims to work for the single session of sex that you use it during. Any other sex can interfere with the method by causing a child to be conceived outside of ideal Shettles Method conditions during which the chance for conceiving a boy is 50/50. Because of this, it’s very important to ensure that the man does not have unprotected sex with the woman in the days before and after ovulation. You don’t want the carefully-controlled sperm from your Shettles Method sex session competing with ordinary sperm.
- By most measures, sperm can remain alive in the vagina for 3-5 days. This means that the father and mother should stop having unprotected sex about 5 days before ovulation is expected. It’s also wise to refrain for several days after ovulation as well for the same reason.
- If sex is unavoidable, use a condom to avoid accidentally conceiving a child outside of the predetermined window.
7. Understand the controversy surrounding the Shettles Method.
Though some advocates swear by the Shettles method and some research has shown that it is moderately effective, it’s very important to understand that the Shettles Method is the subject of controversy in the medical community. Multiple studies have suggested that scientific data partially or totally disproves the Shettles Method. Other studies have shown that attempting sex selection through intercourse timing can reduce your chances of having any child, let alone a boy. In short, it is safe to say that if you attempt to have a boy with the Shettles Method, your results are far from guaranteed.
- Note that even research that does suggest that the Shettles method can affect the rate of male/female conception pins the effectiveness of the method significantly below the level claimed — on the order of 60%, rather than 80%.