Conceiving a healthy baby is undoubtedly the highest priority of any parent. It is not uncommon for some parents to prefer a boy to a girl or vice versa, especially when they already have a baby or babies of one gender (1).
If you are trying to conceive a boy, you should understand that there’s no assured method of selecting the sex of a baby. There is a 50% chance of conceiving a baby of either sex in an unassisted pregnancy (2).
This post talks about ways to conceive a baby boy, but it does not intend to discriminate between a boy and a girl. It also does not advocate or support any such methods of sex selection. Furthermore, although the meanings of sex and gender are evolving into two different things, these words have been used interchangeably to indicate either a boy or a girl in this post.
What Determines The Sex Of A Baby?
The father determines the sex of a baby. The male sperms carry either an X chromosome or a Y chromosome, while a female egg carries only the X chromosome. Therefore, the mother conceives a baby girl if her X chromosome combines with the X chromosome of the father. In contrast, she conceives a baby boy if her X chromosome combines with the Y chromosome of the father (3).
Ideally, both Y chromosome sperm and X chromosome sperm have an equal opportunity to fertilize the egg.
Can You Even Choose The Sex Of Your Baby?
The answer is no. Although medical advances are getting closer to developing methods that might allow you to choose the sex of your baby, they are still nascent, not to mention invasive and costly.
Are There Ways To Conceive A Baby Boy?
Here are some theories that have been used as popular methods of sex selection for quite some time. However, they are supported with little or no scientific evidence. They can be classified by their approach.
Intercourse timing to conceive a boy
The following methods are based on planning the intercourse timing a few days before and after ovulation. All the methods mentioned here offer different suggestions.
1. The Billings method
The Billings method was developed by Dr. John and Evelyn Billings. According to this method, you have to track the texture and consistency of your cervical mucus. If you plan any sexual intercourse during the peak period (less than two days before ovulation), there are chances to conceive a baby boy when the mucus is thin and slippery. Although there is no guarantee of success of this method, research carried out in 2011 indicates a success rate of around 95% (4).
A major drawback of this method is that it is difficult to evaluate the exact consistency of cervical mucus that would give successful results. Moreover, the consistency of the mucus sometimes changes due to reasons other than ovulation, such as a result of medications or the use of lubricants.
2. The Shuttles method
The Shuttles method was suggested by Dr. Landrum Shuttles, the author of the book, How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby. According to Dr. Shuttles’ research, male sperms (carrying Y chromosomes) are smaller, weaker, lighter, and faster, while female sperms (carrying X chromosomes) are bigger, stronger, heavier, and slower. Thus, if the intercourse is closer to the day of ovulation, there will be a greater chance to conceive a baby boy because male sperm will reach the egg first.
Some researchers disagree with this theory, as there is strong medical evidence to prove that this method allows you to choose the sex of your baby with certainty (5).
3. The Whelan method
The Whelan method was given by Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. This method contradicts the Shuttles method by advising that couples need to have intercourse at least four to six days before ovulation (6).
Like the other methods, this method also does not have any scientific evidence to prove its certainty. In addition, critics feel that four to six days before ovulation is way ahead of the fertile period, and it might decrease the chance of pregnancy.
A 1995 study involving 221 healthy women and published in The New England Journal of Medicine has proven that intercourse timing did not affect the gender of infants conceived (7).
Medical interventions to conceive a boy
If you are keen on conceiving a boy, medical interventions might give you fairly successful results. However, these methods can be invasive and costly.
1. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
This method is carried out in combination with in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Once the eggs fertilize and embryos start forming in the petri dish, doctors examine their cells. Only the embryo of the desired sex is selected and implanted in the uterus of the mother.
Although this method is efficient in conceiving the desired sex of the baby, it is usually controversial. As a result, fertility centers mostly use preimplantation genetic diagnosis to identify and prevent serious genetic disorders and not to select the gender of a baby (8).
2. Sperm sorting
Sperm sorting is also called the MicroSort Method. It is done with the help of flow cytometry. In this method, the sperm sample is separated into the male-producing sperm (Y chromosome sperm cells) and female-producing sperm (X chromosome sperm cells). Since the female-producing sperm has 2.8% more DNA content than the male-producing sperm, it is heavier. The separated sperm cells with the desired chromosome can be used for in-vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination.
Sperm sorting is not as effective as preimplantation genetic diagnosis for selecting the desired sex (9).
What Are The Other Methods To Conceive A Boy?
Apart from the timing method and the medical procedures, people may also consider natural methods to conceive a boy. However, these methods do not have any scientific backing to prove that they improve your chances of having a baby of a particular sex.
1. Diet and nutrition: Healthy pregnancy is closely related to a healthy diet. However, a study done in 2008 indicated that a woman’s diet before and during pregnancy can also affect the sex of her baby. The study showed that women who consumed more calories and potassium-rich food had a greater chance of delivering a baby boy (10).
2. Gender selection kits: Many women prefer to use at-home gender selection kits because they are natural, non-invasive, and affordable. These kits claim to improve the chances of conceiving a particular gender of the baby by making the vaginal environment more receptive. Although many gender selection kits are available in the market, there is no scientific evidence to prove that they work (11).
3. Sex positions: Many people believe that sex positions that allow deep penetration are more favorable to conceive a baby boy. The idea behind this belief is that since a male sperm cannot swim as far as female sperm, a deeper penetration would help it reach the egg before its female counterpart. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this belief.
What Does Ayurveda Say?
Ayurveda gives a detailed description of the care you must take before, during, and after pregnancy. Many Ayurvedic tips allow you to enjoy a happy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. However, there are no specific Ayurvedic scripts that assert methods, which guarantee the conception of a baby of a specific gender (12).
The journey towards motherhood is a special one. It begins with pregnancy and continues for a lifetime. As parents, you must make this journey as beautiful and memorable as possible. No matter what the gender of the baby, your responsibility is to take care of your and your baby’s health. So, enjoy this delightful journey and feel the love growing each day for your little one.
- Sex Selection for Nonhealth-Related Reasons.
- Boy or Girl — Can You Choose Your Baby’s Sex?
- Successful Sex Pre-selection using Natural Family Planning.
- Valerie J Grant; (2006); Entrenched misinformation about X and Y sperm.
- The Whelan Method of Sex Selection.
- A J Wilcox et al.; (1915); Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation. Effects on the probability of conception survival of the pregnancy and sex of the baby.
- Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis.
- You are what your mother eats.
- Pragya Rai et al.; (2018); Global sex selection techniques for family planning: a narrative review.
- Simplify Your Pregnancy with Ayurveda.