Getting pregnant > Trying to conceive > Charting your cycle > The Dr Shettles method of conceiving

The Dr Shettles method of conceiving

We explain how Dr Shettles method can help you if you're set on conceiving either a baby girl or a baby boy.
Dr Shettles is one of the most influential fertility experts of the last 50 years, often considered as the father of IVF, however it's his influential book 'How to Choose the Sex of your Baby' that has earned him such an esteemed reputation. His theory based on the differences between X (girl) and Y (boy) sperm is said to have a 75% success rate in helping couples to conceive a baby of their desired sex although its wise to take this figure with a pinch of salt as there is little 'official' research to back this up.

The basic principle

Dr Shettles conception theory works on the principle that Y sperm are smaller and faster than their X counterparts but are also more fragile. X sperm on the other hand are seen as larger and slower yet more resilient and able to survive for longer once released. By carefully timing intercourse in relation to ovulation you should theoretically be able to use this difference to your advantage.

To follow the Dr Shettles method you will need to know when you ovulate so fertility charting is necessary - you can either do this by monitoring your fertility signals (including your BBT, cervical mucus and cervical position) or by using an ovulation kit.

Conceiving a boy

If you would love to conceive a boy Dr Shettles recommends the following.....
  • Abstain from sex during the four or five days leading up to ovulation as this will help to build up your partner's sperm count. You should then time sex to be as close to ovulation as possible, ideally on the day of ovulation itself as this is a woman's most fertile time (so do the baby dance as much as possible). As the Y sperm are more nimble, when released just prior to ovulation they will reach and fertilise an egg much sooner than their X counterparts are able.
  • The optimum vaginal environment for Y sperm to thrive in is the alkalinity of the 'egg white' cervical mucus present just before ovulation. As Y sperm are more fragile they are less able to survive in more acidic conditions, hence why having sex as close to ovulation as possible is recommended. Alkalinity is increased during the female orgasm so Dr Shettles recommends having one before, or at the same time as your partner if you want to conceive a boy. Whats more the female reproductive system contracts during and after orgasm which gives the Y sperm a helping hand in making their way speedily to the egg.
  • Have sex in a position that allows for deep penetrations (Dr Shettles recommends doggy style) as this deposits the sperm further into the vagina and nearer the cervix where the environment is more alkaline and the Y sperm have less distance to travel.
Conceiving a girl

If you have your sights set on a little girl here is what Dr Shettles recommends....
  • Have sex as much as possible on the days leading up to ovulation but then abstain for 2-3 days before and on the day of ovulation itself. This works on the principle that sperm are able to survive for up to 6 days in the female reproductive system and that by the time ovulation occurs only the more resilient X sperm will remain to fertilise the egg.
  • Have sex in a position that allows for shallow penetration (such as the missionary) as this deposits sperm lower in the reproductive system where the environment is less alkaline (so harsher on Y sperm) and where there is further to travel, giving the X sperm a fighting change of outlasting the Y sperm and reaching their target intact.
  • As the female orgasm increases the alkalinity of the vaginal environment making it more friendly to Y sperm, Dr Shettles recommends that women refrain during the fertile period if they are trying to conceive a girl.
A little healthy scepticism....

Many are highly sceptical of Dr Shettles method as there is a 50% chance that couples will conceive a baby of their desired sex naturally without taking any of this into consideration. So, without any concrete evidence to back this method up its quite impossible to say whether the Shettles method actually has any influence on gender selection. More worryingly by timing intercourse too soon before ovulation some couples may be unable to conceive at all as there is no eligible sperm remaining once the egg has been released. For this reason if you try Dr Shettles timing method and haven't conceived after a couple of months it may be best to return to having as much sex around ovulation as possible.

So, if you have a gender preference you could try this timing method, something that shouldn't be too tricky if you are already monitoring your fertility signals and have a good idea of when you ovulate. However, its important not to get too focused on conceiving either a girl or boy as this is only one of many techniques that promises to help you choose the sex of your baby and while Dr Shettles method may have it right its highly possible that he doesn't at all - have fun trying though!

Have you tried the Dr Shettles method or any other technique that is meant to help you choose the sex of your baby? Share your stories with us in the AskBaby Forums

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Please is there anyone who could and my hubby have 5 lads and we r going mad to have a little girl...I know the odds are no good with 5 lads but it can be done is there anything i can do..i have been trying to work out my periods so the best time is? if anyone could help me please do....some ppl may think we r mad as we have 5 lads but we do luv r lads all the world but ever r son would luv a little girl..
by joseliverpool 29th Dec 2010, 9:09am
The intercourse timing combined with pH awareness,is the most effective way to try to choose the gender of your baby!! I got a lot about the Natural Baby Gender Selection Methods on this web site. It helped me a lot. I definitely recommend to you.
You can google
Giant Regards,

Donna & Gary MacLean
Ontario, CANADA
by GaryMacLean 2nd Sep 2010, 10:47am
i had a boy in 2007 (my husband has an older boy also) and was desperate for a girl, someone suggested doc shettles method and i followed it, second month i was pregnant and it was with my girl. so it did work for me. thank you xx i am 34 live in london xx
by lucyhieatt 12th Aug 2010, 11:03am
i already have 2girls bease let me give me a boy
by dog20000 18th May 2010, 5:33pm
hi there i have 2 boys and i desperately want a baby girl. i only want 3 children so this is my last chance to get it right and i am so frightend just incase i get the wrong result. I have read the shettles programme day after day to clearly understand it im either scared of doing the wrong position or not doing it close enough to ovulation my last period was the 15th or 16th feb cant remember but one of those dates so could you pleasse tell me the best time now for ovulation and the correct position please to get my bby girl that ive dreamed of. thankyou
by mooresy 14th May 2010, 4:25pm
please help!!!!! my partner and i want a baby we say things happen when its ment to b and conceiving a baby just hasnt happened yet after tryin for 4mnthsand now after reading this website i now understand it can take longer than 4mnths but there is a Q. i have had chlymidia b4 and got rid of it and was wondering how long u have to have it 4 b4 it does something 4 me not to b able to have or make babies
by wntabby 11th Jan 2010, 3:21pm
I m 38 year woman and have one girl, now i wanted to complet my family with the boy. Kindly give me tips for conceive a boy
by RadhaRani 6th Jan 2010, 11:41am
i tryed this method as stated an has a baby girl what i tryed 4
it wrks
by lol22 31st Jul 2009, 2:26pm
i have 4 boys myself, and my partner are desperate to have a girl to finish. any ideas???
by brannan 27th Apr 2009, 9:37am
why is it when someone is trying to conceive it seems to take forever and those who arent trying get pregnant so easily
by prestonlass77 15th Apr 2009, 10:17am
hi im 21 and i have a four year old son, im trying to conceive a baby girl to complete my family. i've had trouble in past conceiving as i caught a std, now thats cleared up i am wondering does any1 have any tips or have been in a similar situation to me
by kat1987 6th Apr 2009, 9:26am
hi i had sex 4 days before i ovulated and i got another boy,so i do think its 50/50 for 6months before i tracked when i ovulated so know i got it right...but now iam 20 weeks with my first girl and i had sex 12hrs after ovulation so who knows eh!but good luck every one and sending girl dustxxxxx
by janine74 27th Feb 2009, 9:42am
hi im 21 years old and i have a 4 year old girl me and my boyfriend are redy to have a nother baby as my girl is not his i have bin on the pill for 4 year on and of and missed some but now i have come of the pill its only bin 1 month but i just would like some help on how to conceiving i dnt no if i was meant 2 right dis on here but i dnt no were else 2 right it
by emnjo 23rd Feb 2009, 2:45pm
does anyone know if this works? we want a girl any tips x
by coylejo 17th Feb 2009, 9:50am
i want to know how possible can its be to conceive a boy after evacuation of uterus 2 time.i slept with my husband after that in the morning i saw blood and there was a brown discharge the next day
by dudu1 6th Nov 2007, 8:42am