By Dr. Alagammai Ramanathan
Obstetrics & Gynaecology | Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital
For as long as we’ve been MAKING BABIES people have been exchanging ideas about how to increase their chances of having either a boy or a girl. Unfortunately there’s no medical evidence that any of them actually work. Having said that, there’ll always be a mum who tells you an old wives’ tale that worked for her. So if you fancy defying the experts and trying to tip the balance towards one sex yourself, why not try some of the suggestions below. People talk about positions, days, methods, massages and the list goes on and on.
Q1) Is there any proven method for me to choose to have a boy or a girl?
YES! There is a scientific way to get a particular sex. Fertility specialists have the ability to create and identify embryos of either sex. It is called PGD (part of IVF or the test tube babies). Only pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has been approved as a technique which does this gender pre selection.
Q2) What are my chances of pregnancy with this method?
Well it is the same as having test tube or IVF babies. Most centers quote a success rate of about 30 to 40%.
Q3) How is it done?
Just like IVF. The fertility specialist will have to induce ovulation (by medication) and take the eggs out once matured and insert the sperm into the egg to await fertilization. Once it is at a certain stage transplant it back into the womb.
Q4) Is it done in Malaysia?
YES, at fertility centers with IVF facilities
Q5) Is it legal? Can anyone walk in and ask for it?
Legally you only allowed to choose your baby’s gender if you have a serious genetic condition that you risk passing on to your children. In other words you can’t medically intervene with conception
just to balance your family, or for social or cultural reasons.
FACTS OF LIFE
While it is very difficult to choose a boy or a girl, knowing some facts of life and conception may help. Men produce two types of sperm — X being female and Y being male (only men determine the sex of the baby).
Male sperm is smaller, weaker and faster than the female sperm which is bigger, stronger and slower. Sex of the baby depends on which sperm reaches the egg first, once a sperm penetrates the egg it forms a hard coat around the egg so that the other sperms cannot enter after that. So even though the Y chromosome is faster they are weak, if they do not penetrate in time the X will reach and as females are stronger they tend to fertilize the egg much easier.
1) Timing of intercourse (this is only if you can predetermine your ovulation time)
As the male sperms are faster,if you want to have a boy then it is advisable to have sex on the day of ovulation. For a girl baby, start early before ovulation. Ovulation is the time the egg is ready for penetration of sperm, so whichever sperm is there it will penetrate. For female, sex before ovulation will ensure adequate time for the sperm to travel up to the egg and once the sperms are around the egg, even if there are male sperms around the egg, the female sperm which is much stronger will be able to get in.
2) Vaginal pH
Usually the vaginal pH is acidic, on the day of ovulation it is alkaline. An acidic environment is more favourable for the conception of a girl. It’s apparently not as welcoming for male sperm. The acidic environment kills the weaker male sperm first. So if you want a boy then sex during ovulation may help.
For a boy- do not have intercourse for four to five days prior to ovulation. You should use a condom if you wish to have sex during this time. Sex during ovulation is important. For a girl- try daily intercourse from the end of your period until 2-4 days prior to ovulation, then no intercourse until 2-3 days after ovulation.
4) Sexual Position
Sexual position is said to help your chances of gender selection due to both depth of penetration and pH levels. The closer to the opening of the vagina, the more acidic the woman’s reproductive tract (vagina) is. Hence with deeper penetration (e.g. doggy-style)your chances of a boy go up. This will apparently place the male sperm closer to the egg, giving them a head start. Missionary position could be used when trying to conceive a girl.
To conceive a boy, the woman should try to achieve orgasm either before or at the same time as her partner. Multiple female orgasms can help! It is believed that the waves of the orgasm will help to draw up the sperm quicker to the egg, again giving the boys getting a head start on the girls. For a girl, it is recommended for women to avoid orgasm.
Here’s one for the men: if you’d like to try for a boy, the shettles method suggests that men try to keep their scrotal temperature cool. This means no hot spas or baths and no tight clothing or underwear. Boxer shorts are a good alternative. Avoid scuba diving and heated vehicles for extended durations (or other areas of high heat).
How about sex selection kits?
DIY kits which claim to help with sex selection are based on the Shettles theory. Separate girl and boy kits are available (overseas). They include instructions, a basal thermometer, ovulation predictor test sticks, supplement tablets, and douches that are supposedly gender specific.
In Malaysia we don’t have DIY kit but we do have ovulation kits and you will need to visit your gynecologist for the supplement medications. If you do have difficulty in conceiving both husband and wife will need to undergo some tests to ensure both partners are healthy and ready for a good pregnancy journey ahead.
For more information, please contact Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital at 088-518 888.Address: [email protected], Block A-1, Lorong [email protected], 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. For Emergency, please call 088-518 911