How to Have a Boy
Trying to conceive comes with its fair share of challenges. For couples who have a specific preference, things can get even more complicated! That being said, if you are hoping for a boy, there are some ways to improve your odds. Here are five ways to improve your chances of having a boy:
- The Billings method
- A diet to help you conceive a boy
- The Shettles method
- Avoiding intercourse before ovulation
- Sperm spinning and genetic testing
But first, a couple of basic facts for background.
True or False: Male Sperm Swim Faster Than Female Sperm
False! Research from the 1960s claimed that male sperm (with XY chromosomes) and female sperm (with XX chromosomes) have some distinct characteristics, but more recent studies don’t show any significant difference between the two sperm types.
True or False: Vaginal pH Is a Factor in Selecting for Gender
True. The vagina is naturally more acidic during most of the menstrual cycle. This helps kill harmful bacteria and prevents infection.
But sperm need a more alkaline environment to survive for more than just a few hours. The vagina’s pH naturally shifts to more alkaline in the days leading up to ovulation.
Male sperm thrive in a more alkaline environment, so the more alkaline your vaginal mucus is, the more likely you are to conceive a boy. Diet can help make the vagina more alkaline (see below).
1. Conceiving a Boy Using the Billings Method
This method involves becoming very familiar with the way your cervical mucus feels in the days leading up to ovulation and then after ovulation. While the mucus is generally dry and sticky during most of a woman’s menstrual cycle, it gradually changes as ovulation nears.
The method was shown in a study to help couples pre-select the gender of their baby when they timed intercourse based on vaginal mucus texture.
To use the Billings method to conceive a boy, follow these steps:
- Check your mucus. Take notice of how your vaginal area feels throughout a menstrual cycle. When do you feel wetter, with more watery mucus? When your vagina feels wetter and the mucus has the texture of egg whites, ovulation is about to happen.
- Find your peak day. Your most fertile day is your “peak” day. This is the last day that you will have fertile (i.e., egg white or watery) cervical fluid or a wet or slippery vagina. Identify this day in your cycle.
- Have sex on or after your peak day. Avoid having intercourse before your peak day. Have intercourse on or after your peak day.
3. The Shettles Method
This method was developed by Dr. Landrum Shettles and is based on the notion that male sperm are smaller, lighter, and quicker than their female counterparts. If it were true, this would mean that male sperm can reach the egg more quickly than female sperm. Female sperm, the theory also holds, are bigger and stronger, so they can survive for longer periods of time but they are also significantly slower.
How to have a boy using the Shettles method:
- Try to have sex close to the time of ovulation. The window for conceiving a boy is from about 24 hours prior to ovulation to no more than 12 hours past ovulation. You should closely monitor your cycle using one or more methods of ovulation prediction. These methods are charting cervical mucus, charting basal body temperature (BBT), and/or using ovulation predictor kits (OPK).
- Use an ovulation predictor kit. If you have not been charting your cervical mucus or basal body temperature, then using an OPK may be easiest for you. Ovulation kits work by detecting when your luteinizing hormone (LH) levels increase. The LH levels surge about 12-48 hours prior to ovulation, so the optimal time to have intercourse would be about 12 hours after the LH surge. (See the illustration above) As you get close to ovulation, do the OPK test two times a day to catch the surge as soon as it happens.
- Go deep. You should try to have sex in positions that allow for maximum penetration. This will increase the chances of survival for male sperm on the way through the vaginal opening, where the environment is more acidic and less friendly to the male sperm.
- Get off! Another factor is a woman’s orgasm, which can affect the vaginal PH. If the woman has an orgasm, it creates an alkaline environment in the vagina that is more favorable to boys.
2. A Diet to Help You Conceive a Boy
Since male sperm prefer a more alkaline environment, it’s important to make sure you get plenty of the right foods in your diet when trying to conceive. Here are some suggested foods and other ideas.
- Eat alkaline foods. Some great ones are apricots, figs, cantaloupe, cherries, fresh lemons, spelt bread, lentils, avocado, royal jelly, pine nuts, almonds, carrots, orange juice, red radish, fresh red beets, alfalfa grass, barley grass, sprouted seeds, and tomato sauce, wheatgrass.
- Eat a good breakfast. Higher calorie diets that provide more energy have been shown to increase the odds of conceiving a boy. Specifically, eating breakfast cereal appears to boost energy and boost the chances of having a boy.
- Eat more sodium and potassium. When used in combination with timing intercourse after ovulation, eating saltier and potassium-rich foods, but less calcium and magnesium may help with the chances of conceiving a boy.
- Increase potassium-rich foods. The best one is bananas!
- Reduce foods that are high in calcium. This includes dairy products and supplements.
4. Avoid Intercourse Before Ovulation
If you really want a boy, minimize your chances of conceiving a girl by avoiding sex in the few days just prior to ovulation, or as soon as your fertile cervical mucus appears. (If you do, use some sort of birth control.) It is more likely you will conceive a girl if you have intercourse during that time.
5. “Sperm Spinning” and Pre-Implant Genetic Testing
The approach has been in practice since the 1970s. In a lab, sperm are placed on top of albumin, which gets gradually thicker toward the bottom. The sperm swim down into the solution and are then separated by faster and slower swimmers. Behind this method is the belief that female sperm swim slower than male sperm. So if a woman wants a boy the doctor will collect the fastest swimming sperm and use them to artificially inseminate her.
Some fertility doctors offer preimplantation genetic testing after an IVF procedure. This testing determines the chromosome content (sex) of the embryos before any are transferred to the mother’s uterus.
What Is Fertile Cervical Mucus?
Cervical or vaginal mucus is the sticky stuff inside your vagina. Many methods to detect fertility involve determining the consistency of this mucus. Becoming familiar with the ways that it changes during your menstrual cycle will make it easier to know when you’re ovulating and have the best chance of conceiving a boy.
Cervical mucus changes through the menstrual cycle:
- Dry and sticky mucus: You are not ovulating.
- Creamy mucus: Ovulation is approaching. (Have sex now if you want a girl!)
- Wet and watery mucus: You will ovulate very soon.
- Stretchy, wet mucus: You are ovulating. (Have sex now if you want a boy!)
How to Use Your Basal Body Temperature to Detect Ovulation
Your basal body temperature is simply your body temperature when you are at rest. By taking your temperature every day you can establish your own personal baseline. Not everyone is 98.6 degrees all the time!
The reason this is useful information is that your body temperature will rise slightly (at least four-tenths of a degree) the day after you ovulate. This means that if you happen to be 98.6 degrees in the days leading up to ovulation, your temperature will rise to 99 degrees on the day after you ovulate.
By keeping track of temperature for two cycles you should be able to predict when you will ovulate.
- Check your cervical mucus too for a more precise prediction.
- Use an ovulation predictor kit as well to be even more certain of whether you have ovulated.
Remember: To conceive a boy, have intercourse on the day you ovulate or after.