Gender selection is a sensitive topic. We all think about it (some of us want to partake in it), but we don’t talk about it. Thus far, there has been no concrete, surefire way to choose the gender of your baby that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Or is there?
The Shettles Method is a gender swaying method that doesn’t involve lab coats or injections. Rather, this method, which has been around for decades, suggests that things like the timing and the sexual position of intercourse can influence the gender of the baby.
As you probably guessed, the Shettles Method has its fair share of believers and an equal number of skeptics. Is there any proof in the pudding? Let’s take a closer look at this method, and the five key factors in this type of gender swaying.
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What is the Shettles Method?
The Shettles Method was developed by Dr. Landrum B. Shettles in the 1960s, and it is a form of gender swaying that he claimed is backed by science.
Whether it’s completely effective or not, there are many advantages to trying it—and there’s always a 50% chance it will work. It costs nothing, and it requires no medical treatments, so couples have nothing to lose by trying it.
The Shettles Method is based on the fact that men produce two different types of sperm: X (female) and Y (male). The type of sperm that fertilizes the egg determines the gender of the baby. According to Dr. Shettles’ research, male sperm are quicker, but they’re also smaller and weaker. Female sperm, on the other hand, are much slower, but bigger and stronger.
These characteristics helped the doctor create a set of guidelines to help couples conceive a child with the gender of their preference.
Conventional Gender Selection Methods
Yes, foolproof gender selection is possible. But it will cost you. Thousands of dollars (tens of thousands in most cases). The most effective way to choose your baby’s sex is through infertility treatment—artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Both of these methods require a significant investment, and they often require you to take infertility drugs that can be costly and cause side effects.
Both preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, and preimplantation genetic screen, or PGS, can determine the sex of the embryo before it’s implanted. The type of test you have will depend on your reasoning for choosing the sex of your child. Both of these have a 100% accuracy rating.
But just a single round of IVF with genetic testing can cost a couple more than $20,000. The procedure is highly invasive, and the removal of eggs from your ovaries can be a painful process. The fertility drugs used in this treatment can also have some uncomfortable side effects, like bloating, weight gain, swelling, and even blurred vision.
In short, couples who aren’t having difficulty conceiving will often opt for the Shettles Method because it doesn’t cost them a dime and doesn’t require them to take any medications.
5 Key Factors in the Shettles Method
The most important factor of all is timing, according to Dr. Shettles. The timing of the intercourse will have a direct influence on whether the baby is a boy or girl.
If intercourse occurs close to ovulation, you have a greater chance of having a boy.Why? Because according to Dr. Shettles, male sperm are faster than their female counterparts and thus so more likely to reach the egg first. However, it’s important to note that there are some studies showing no difference between how fast male and female sperm swim.
The Dr. Shettles method recommends having intercourse at the peak of fertile mucus, about 12 hours before ovulation, if you want a boy. If you’re going for a girl, time your intercourse for 2-4 days before ovulation. Female sperm live longer, so they have more time to reach the egg.
Charting your menstrual cycle can help you determine when you’re ovulating.
A strange factor, it’s true. But Dr. Shettles says you should abstain from having intercourse 4-5 days before ovulation if you want to have a boy. If you do have sex, make sure you wear a condom.
To conceive a girl, Dr. Shettles recommends having sex as often as possible between the last day of your period and the 2-4 days before ovulation. At this point, you should avoid sex until at least 2-3 days after ovulation.
3. Vaginal pH
Dr. Shettles claims that an acidic vaginal environment is more favorable for female sperm, which are stronger and bigger. An acidic environment is inhospitable for male sperm and typically kills off weaker male sperm first. To conceive a boy, aim to have sex on the day you ovulate – when the environment is more alkaline.
4. Sexual Position
It’s believed that sexual position can influence the gender of the baby because of the pH and penetration levels. The woman’s reproductive tract is more acidic towards the opening of the vagina, which would be more favorable for female sperm.
If you want to conceive a boy, choose a position that allows for deeper penetration so the sperm is released closer to the egg. This will give the male sperm a head start. If you’re trying to conceive a girl, Dr. Shettles recommends the missionary position.
The final factor is, arguably, the most fun: the orgasm.
For a boy, the woman should have an orgasm either just before or at the same time as her partner. Multiple orgasms are great, too, (in more ways than one). According to Dr. Shettles, the waves of orgasms draw the sperm up toward the egg, which gives male sperm a head start.
For couples wanting a girl, the woman should avoid having an orgasm (bummer).
Bonus Factor: Heat
For men, the heat factor is important. If you want a boy, it’s important for men to keep their testicles cool. This means avoiding tight clothing (including tight underwear) and hot tubs or baths. According to Dr. Shettles, heat kills all sperm, but male sperm are more vulnerable because they are smaller and weaker.
How Successful Is the Shettles Method?
According to Dr. Shettles, his methods have a success rate of 75-80% for girls and 80-85% for boys Of course, these figures are based on the doctor’s claims, not independent studies. With that said, we’ve heard numerous success stories using this method, while a fair share that say the Shettles Method didn’t work for them.
There is no third-party scientific proof that this method works, and some doctors say that following the advice given by Dr. Shettles can actually prevent you from getting pregnant. For couples aiming for a girl, having intercourse too early before ovulation can prevent the sperm from making it to the egg when it’s released. And ovulation charts are not always accurate, which means you may wind up missing ovulation—and your chance to conceive—altogether.
Unfortunately, there is no surefire DIY trick to help you conceive the gender of your choosing. But you have nothing to lose in trying the Shettles Method. It won’t cost you a dime. Our recommendation if you’re going to try this method is to go into it with an open mind and heart. If things don’t turn out as planned, be happy to have a healthy baby—no matter the gender.