Does Gender Swaying Actually Work?

Does Gender Swaying Actually Work?

Via WBUR.org

Gender disappointment is a real phenomenon that rocks parents on an intensely emotional level. Some moms have been dreaming of a specific family make-up or birth gender since their own childhood! Since sex is dictated by the chromosomes found in the sperm cell, moms don’t determine the sex of their unborn baby. Those couples desperate enough to get their preferred boy or girl baby have been known to take some drastic measures! Biological sex cannot be controlled during typical sex and conception. Trying to influence the sex of the baby during conception is called “gender swaying”. But does it really work?

The Concept

The basics of human conception have been known to scientists for quite some time now. A sperm cell and an egg cell meet, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus and the egg implants into the cushy endometrial lining. As stated earlier, sperm cells determine the biological sex of the resulting baby by carrying either an X or a Y chromosome. Male babies develop from XY pairings while females form from XX pairings. Of course, even this X/Y genetic combination has many variations - X, XXY, XYY, XXYY, and more! These genetic mutations can be relatively harmless or cause many changes to the baby’s phenotype.

Via Vox

While you might think this means you have a 50% chance of having a boy baby, and a 50% chance of having a girl baby. In reality, boy babies are ever so slightly more common. The prevailing theory on this imbalance is the physical weight of the X and Y chromosomes. Because Y has one less “leg”, it costs less than X chromosomes. When a sperm carries a Y chromosome it can allegedly move more quickly than an X sperm, reaching the egg first and cementing the baby boy status.

Gender swaying is an attempt to push that near-50/50 balance in the direction of your preferred gender. But how can that be done?

The Methods

Some gender swaying methods really are nothing more than ‘old wives’ tales’: have sex facing North, eat a specific diet, or wear special jewelry to get your baby girl! No one with a rational mind thinks those methods are anything more than a hope and a prayer. The more scientifically-minded parents who are determined to get the gender they want might go to extreme lengths. Couples who use IVF can select the sex of the embryos they choose to transfer.

Via Medium

In the 1960s, Dr. Shettles built upon the idea that sperm for X and Y chromosomes have different weights and move faster or slower than one another. He also suggested that female sperm move more slowly but survive longer, while male sperm moves quickly but perish more rapidly. As a result, Shettles recommended parents who want to conceive a girl should have sex up to a few days before ovulation; those hoping for a boy should wait until the day of ovulation.

Here’s the science: none of the methods I outlined have any real scientific credibility. Some call for altering vaginal pH; this method has some basis in scientific fact because sperm can only survive in certain pH levels. Beyond a basic link between vaginal pH and sperm viability, this method doesn’t hold water. The most promising method of gender swaying is based on a female’s hormonal balance at the time of conception. While this method seems feasible, researchers don’t know enough about the hormonal influence to announce any kind of discovery.

In short: gender swaying does not increase your likelihood of actually having your preferred gender. Perhaps the better effort might be put toward changing your perspective on gender preference. What message does it send to have a preference for a boy or a girl? Do you have other children who might see this preference as a sign you don’t like them as they are? That you might wish they were someone other than themselves? Remember that little eyes and ears are absorbing everything we do like a sponge. Consider who might be learning from your preferences. Maybe accepting gender as a variable you can’t control is the secret to getting the gender of baby you need.

NEXT: Overcoming Gender Disappointment

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