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.....
Conceiving a girl
- 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.
If you have your sights set on a little girl here is what Dr Shettles recommends....
A little healthy scepticism....
- 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.
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