Pink for a little girl, blue for a boy – these are not just the words to the eternal song of motherly love, telling us that little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. They also hint at the ‘old wives’ tale – that if you want to give birth to a girl, then eat lots of sugar, chocolate and sugary foods before you conceive.
‘You’ll find your wedded bliss, if you just remember this’. The old tales also tell us that if you want a baby daughter, you should place a pink ribbon beneath your pillow as you sleep each night, before you conceive your child. Oh, and sleep on the right hand side!
You should stay on the right when you actually lie with your partner – preferably beneath a full moon, though at the actual point of conception, the woman should be on top. In both senses of the word - as if she wants to give birth to a baby girl, she must initiate lovemaking.
Medical science has more definite ways of choosing the gender of your offspring. Sperm Sorting methods take advantage of the greater speed of the Y-bearing ‘boy’ chromosome, or the greater weight and mass of the X-bearing ‘girl’ chromosome. The Ericcson Technique is based on speed and the MicroSort method selects by size.
The latter method uses fluorescent dye to assess which of the sperm are ‘heavier’ as the X-bearing chromosome will glow brighter due to the higher levels of fluorescence in the dye. There is also PGD – Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis is a form of sex selection based on the removal of a single embryo cell in the lab, and then determining its gender.
The chosen sex embryo is then implanted in the prospective mother. PGD is not guaranteed as only 20% of women will get pregnant using this method, and in certain countries it is only available for parents with a genetic predisposition to a serious illness in their offspring.
It has often been said that life is all about timing, and the power of time has been harnessed through the ages by prospective parents. By carefully choosing when to have intercourse, ie by having sex when your body is most likely to be fertile, you are more likely to get pregnant.
It has been suggested by many medical professionals that you can also pick the optimum time to choose the gender of your child, and to conceive either a baby girl or a baby boy. The X-bearing chromosome determines that your child will be a girl. A man carries both X and Y chromosomes.
To ensure the X chromosome comes first in the race for life that takes place immediately after intercourse, it is commonly considered that you should make love about 3 days before ovulation. As the Y chromosome swims faster and is relatively lighter, and less strong, the X chromosome will be strong enough to last longer.
By the time the woman is at her most fertile, ie at ovulation, the theory goes that the Y chromosomes will simply no longer be viable. So as long as you hold off getting together during the height of your cycle, you may have your desired baby girl.
MD Landrum B Shettles famously propounded this theory, and DR Elizabeth Whelan agreed with him in The Whelan Method, which says you should have sex 2 or 3 days before ovulation to have a girl. And when in doubt – you can always eat cheese. Eating dairy products is said to give you a greater chance of having a daughter.