Can you choose your baby’s gender?


Are you the mom of three boys and you are just dying to get that baby girl you’ve always dreamed of? Or, maybe you have always wanted your first born to be a boy. Well, according to modern science, some popular research and many people who swear by these methods, there are several things you can try to increase your chances of conceiving the gender you desire.

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How a Baby’s Gender Is Determined

Before getting into the different methods of gender selection, let’s talk a little bit about how a baby’s gender is determined. If you are a female you carry two X chromosomes (XX). If you are a male, you carry an X chromosome and a Y chromosome (XY).  When a man and a woman conceive a child, they each pass on one of their chromosomes. The woman passes on an X chromosome (which is all she has to offer) and the man can pass on an X chromosome or a Y chromosome. If he passes on an X chromosome, the baby will be a girl. If the man passes on a Y chromosome, the baby will be a boy. So, basically it is the dad’s DNA that determines what sex the baby will be.

Gender Chromosomes

Girl = XX
Boy = XY

The mom passes on an X chromosome and the dad can pass on either an X chromosome or a Y chromosome, determining the baby’s gender.

Now that you understand the basics of gender DNA, let’s talk about some ways that can increase your chances of conceiving one gender over another.

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The Shettles Method

Probably the most popular method of gender selection is that determined by Dr. Landrum B. Shettles in the 1960s and made popular by his book How To Choose The Sex of Your Baby. The basis for this method is the premise that sperm carrying the female (X) chromosome and male (Y) chromosome have different characteristics and you can encourage one or the other to reach the egg and fertilize it first through the timing of intercourse and how you do it.

Characteristics of Female Versus Male Sperm
  • Female sperm (containing X chromosome) are more resilient (live longer), but are slower. They thrive in an acidic environment where Y sperm struggle.
  • Male sperm (containing the Y chromosome) are faster, but die sooner. They thrive in an alkaline environment.
To Conceive a Girl Using the Shettles Method:
  • Have sex 2-3 days before ovulation, so that the long-living female sperm will remain inside the woman waiting for the egg while the male sperm die off.
  • Refrain from having sex in the couple of days leading up to ovulation and for two days after to avoid the speedy male sperm beating the female sperm to the egg.
  • Have intercourse in a shallow position that will deposit the sperm furthest from the cervix, like the “missionary position.” This gives the advantage to the female sperm because they live longer and can travel longer distances and the cervical fluid closer to the entrance is more acidic, thus favoring the female sperm.
  • The female should avoid having an orgasm as it can make the internal environment more alkaline, thus favoring male sperm (fun times, huh?).
To Conceive a Boy Using the Shettles Method:
  • Have sex at the time of ovulation and just before so that the speedier male sperm have a chance to reach the egg first.
  • Have intercourse in a deep position that will deposit sperm closest to the cervix, like with the man entering from behind. The cervical fluid closest to the cervix is more alkaline, favoring male sperm, and the short-lived male sperm have less distance to travel.
  • The female should have an orgasm as this decreases the acidity of the woman’s internal environment, giving the male sperm a better chance of living.

Obviously, following the Shettles Method isn’t easy – it takes careful planning and can extend the time it takes you to conceive a child because you are limiting having sex on certain days.


Altering Your Internal pH Balance

Going along with the Shettles Method theory that male sperm (Y chromosomes) thrive in an alkaline environment and struggle in acidity, many believe that if you can control your internal pH, you can favor one sperm over another.

Before trying to alter your pH balance, it’s important to test yourself to see if you are already leaning more on the acidic or alkaline side. You can use simple pH paper test strips to test your urine, saliva, or even vaginal discharge. If you are already testing more acidic (lower pH), you’re primed for having a girl. More alkaline (higher pH) and you’re primed for having a boy. If you want to alter your pH to get a specific gender…

If you want to have a baby girl, you will want to create a more acidic environment for the sperm:
  • Eat a diet high in calcium, magnesium, and highly acidic foods like corn, blueberries, and most meat. For a full list of acidic and alkaline foods, click here.
  • While this is a little bit more extreme, some women have even gone so far as to give themselves an acidic douche (like lime juice or vinegar) prior to intercourse. However, most doctors do not recommend douching under any circumstances as it can throw off the balance of healthy bacteria in the vagina and lead to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
If you want to have a baby boy, you will want to create a more alkaline environment for the sperm:
  • Eat a diet high in potassium and sodium, such as salt, bananas, carrots, and almonds. For a full list of alkaline and acidic foods, click here.
  • Again, some women resort to douching with something basic like baking soda to create an immediate alkaline environment for male sperm. However, douching can be dangerous and is not recommended.

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Expensive Scientific Techniques

If home experiments aren’t for you and you are determined to have the boy/girl baby you’ve always dreamed of (and money isn’t an issue), you may just want to seek outside help. With the help of specialized fertility centers and modern science, here are a couple of methods for greatly increasing your chances of conceiving the gender of your choice.


MicroSort is a sperm sorting technique that uses die to separate the X chromosome sperm from the Y chromosome sperm. After the sperm is separated, the appropriate gender is placed in the mom’s uterus using artificial insemination or in some cases in vitro fertilization. If artificial insemination is used, MicroSort can cost around $3,000 per cycle (upwards of $15k+ for IVF). MicroSort has been 93% successful in conceiving girls and 82% successful for boys.

You can visit the MicroSort website for locations and more information.

Ericsson Method

Developed in the 1970’s by Dr. Ronald Ericsson, this is another sperm separating technique that is based on the principle that boy producing sperm (Y) are faster than girl producing sperm (X) and will reach the bottom of a test tube filled with a sticky substance first. This way the sperm can be separated once the boy sperm reach the bottom. The chosen gender sperm is then inserted into the mom through artificial insemination. Ericsson claims that his technique is 75-85% successful in conceiving boys and 73-75% successful in conceiving girls. The cost for this method is around $600 per treatment cycle.

To find locations offering the Ericsson Method and for more information, visit the Gametrics Limited website.


Old Wives’ Tales

If you aren’t taking your baby’s gender selection too seriously and just want to have a little bit of fun with it, here are a few old wives’ tales that we came across. Hey, even if they aren’t true there’s still a 50% chance that you’ll end up with the gender you want!

Old wives’ tales to conceive a girl:
  • Have sex during the “new moon” phase of the monthly moon cycle
  • Have sex on the even days of the month
  • Have sex in the afternoon
  • The woman should initiate the love-making
Old wives’ tales to conceive a boy:
  • Have sex during the “full moon” phase of the monthly moon cycle
  • Have sex on the odd days of the month
  • Have sex only at night
  • The man should initiate the love-making

Another old wives’ tale would be to consult the Chinese Gender Chart to see when best months are for you to conceive the gender you desire.


Once you’ve successfully gotten pregnant, make sure you check out this post on 5 Early Gender Prediction Methods

This post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician, doctor or health care professional. Please read our terms of use for more information.

Photo Credit: Dreams To Do




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Ariel is a working mom of two (expecting baby #3 next July!) who is married to her high school sweetheart. When she isn’t at the office or playing with her young kiddos, you can find her writing on her personal blog, Dreams To Do. Ariel is a lover of inspirational words, photography, coffee, reality TV, and of course, her family. You can connect with Ariel on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. NOOOOO! YOU CANNOT CHOOSE YOUR CHILD’S GENDER! You can attempt to choose the SEX of your baby, the kind of genitals the baby will have (male or female), but boys and girls are SOCIAL constructs. It is LIKELY your male will be a boy, but the child may be transgender. Goodness. I would expect a site like this to be more savvy.

  2. Hi, Valerie!

    Thank you for your thoughts. The word gender has been used interchangeably in our society, despite its different meaning, so we decided that for the clarity and simplicity of the article, it would be better to use the more common term “gender” than the lesser used term “sex”. Many medical dictionaries define gender as sex, so we decided to use that word to conform to what people are used to hearing.

    We would love to see an article on Daily Mom about the differences between gender and sex and how both develop, if that’s something you’d like to write 🙂

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