How to choose the sex of your next baby



Theoretically, the chances of a pregnant woman giving birth to a baby girl are roughly 50:50.

(To be accurate, 105 boys are conceived for every 100 girls but slightly higher death rates among boy babies brings the ratio down to 50:50.)

But evens aren't very good odds if you're desperate to be able to choose the sex of your baby.

Over the centuries many people have tried to find ways to manipulate the odds a little.

* The ancient Greeks believed that sperm from the left testicle meant that a girl would be born while sperm from the right testicle would produce a boy. In order to try and choose the sex of their next baby Greek fathers would have one testicle temporarily tied off.

* French noblemen were even more determined to obtain male heirs. They would sometimes have their left testicles cut off completely!

* In Austria women giving birth who wanted a son next time would ask the midwife to bury the placenta or afterbirth underneath the nearest nut tree.

* Women living on the Pelew Islands, east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean, used to dress up in their partners' clothes in the belief that this would help ensure that they had a baby boy.

* One idea still popular in many countries is that if a man wants a boy he should make sure that he throws his underpants down on the right hand side of the bed before making love to his partner.

Other widespread theories designed to ensure the birth of a baby boy include:

* making love with your shoes on
* eating a raw egg beforehand
* making love only when the wind is coming from the north

These days scientists try to be more logical when advising parents on the best ways to chose the sex of their babies.

Here's some of the available information:

1. If you want a boy make love on the day of ovulation. If you want a girl make love at least two days before ovulation - the time when the female egg is released. Ovulation usually occurs twelve to sixteen days before a menstrual bleed starts. One in seven women feel a pain when they ovulate. Others notice that the cervical mucus their bodies produce becomes wetter around the time of ovulation.
2. If you want a girl wait until you're older. Young couples seem to have more sons. Older parents seem to be more likely to give birth to daughters.
3. If you have a string of sons and are desperate for a daughter - keep trying! The more children you have the more likely you are to have a girl.
4. If you want a boy make love when hostilities break out. For some (as yet inexplicable) reason there is a rise in the number of boys born during or just after a war.
5. Women who want a girl should either marry an anaesthetist or a fighter pilot. Both groups seem to father more girls than boys.
6. Some experts claim that if you want a boy you should eat lots of vegetables (but no lettuce, raw cabbage or cauliflower; spinach or cress) and lots of fresh fruit. If you want a girl they say that you should keep your consumption of salt low but drink plenty of milk and eat lots of rice and pasta.

Advances in genetic engineering mean that an increasing number of would-be parents are now using science to determine the sex of their next child.

But there are many who believe that using too much science is cheating.

And takes much of the fun out of trying (and wondering)!


Copyright Vernon Coleman 2003