Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pregnancy Post- The Shettles Method... does it work?

A recent poll found that only 17% of women DON'T have a preference on the gender of their baby. I can honestly say I have never been one of that 17%. Only with my second child did I have a very strong preference, but with the first and the last I had a slight girl preference (I didn't know if a boy was capable of being a good oldest child. I've since learned that my boy makes a fantastic oldest child. And I wouldn't mind this one being a girl.) With my third child I had a slight boy preference. My second absolutely HAD to be a boy, I just wanted to have my two little boys, and I'm sure glad I do. So I have always had a preference, and I know some people who have VERY strong preferences and are very disappointed if they don't achieve the desired gender.

Many people talk about the "timing" of your conception and how that can determine the sex of your baby. This comes from Dr. Landrum Shettles who claimed a 75% to 90% success rate for his simple, at-home method, which advises how to time intercourse to conceive a boy or a girl. He sold millions of books, and many more people believe in his theories. But how does this theory actually perform? I'm going to share an actual study with 700 people.

First of all, what is the Shettles method? Shettles theorized that the two different types of sperm, X-chromosome-bearing sperm and Y-chromosome-bearing sperm, had different properties.

Y-Bearing Sperm
  • Smaller, round-headed
  • Faster
  • More fragile, shorter-lived

X-Bearing Sperm
  • Larger, oval-headed
  • Slower
  • More resilient, longer-lived
Shettles hoped that these properties could be used to choose a baby's sex.
  • Under ideal conditions, the Y-sperm's faster speed should prevail, winning the race to the egg and conceiving a boy.
  • Under less than ideal conditions, fewer of the fragile Y-sperm will survive. The X-sperm's resiliance and staying power should win the day, conceiving a girl.
Dr. Shettles believed that correctly timing intercourse was the most important factor in choosing to conceive a boy or girl. This means you must learn to detect when you ovulate, and spend a few cycles practicing until you are not only able to determine when ovulation has occurred, but to predict when it is about to occur.

Generally, the rule of thumb that people go by is that a 2-3 day cutoff of intercourse before ovulation should give you a girl. Intercourse ON the day of ovulation, and as close to ovulation as possible would give you a boy. Some people even throw in a vinegar douche to increase acidity for a girl, or a baking soda douche to increase alkalinity for a boy. It HAS been scientifically proven that X-sperm thrive under acidic conditions and Y-Sperm thrive under alkaline conditions.

If you would like any more information on the Shettles Method, just google it and you will find thousands of websites discussing it.

How did it measure up in an actual study. It's easy to write a book and claim whatever statistics you want in it, but how did it do in real life? There is a website that I found years ago that is fascinating. It is www.in-gender.com. They surveyed 700 people on how the Shettles Method worked for them. Here is their scorecard that I copied from their site.

Shettles for a GIRL 75%65%C-
Comments: Intercourse 3 days before ovulation does show a noticeable increase over the natural odds of about 50%. However, intercourse on other days (2 or 4 days) before ovulation does not show any greater chance of having a girl.
Shettles for a BOY 80%60%D
Comments: Intercourse on the day of ovulation increases the chance of a boy somewhat.

Fertility for a GIRL D
Comments: All Shettles recommendations for conceiving a girl hamper fertility, making it harder to get pregnant at all. Attempting Shettles for a girl may take many more cycles to get pregnant, or not at all.
Fertility for a BOY A+
Comments: All Shettles recommendations for conceiving a boy lead to optimum fertility. Following Shettles for a boy should lead to pregnancy as soon as possible (assuming there are no fertility problems).

So you can see from their scorecard that the Shettles Method does increase your chances of conceiving, but not dramatically. If you want to increase your chances of a certain gender more dramatically, visit In-Gender and check out some of their other techniques. It's amazing what people will do, maybe some day I'll be desperate enough to do some of these things.

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