Is there a foolproof way to conceive a baby boy? Let’s take a look at some of the popular myths and truths of conception.
“We just want a healthy baby!”
Does this sound familiar? I’m sure it does. Every parent feels an obligation to express their desire for a thriving little bundle, with 10 fingers and 10 toes, regardless of gender.
But between you and me, there could be some good reasons for wondering how to conceive a baby boy. Maybe you already have 4 girls and don’t want to go full Pride and Prejudice. Maybe your favorite color is blue! Or, perhaps you’ve already conceived and want to guess what your baby’s gender will be based on what old wive’s tales you’ve followed.
Snippet: There are many reasons for wanting to conceive a baby boy. Let’s take a look at some legendary recommendations and see how they measure up to modern scrutiny. Learn how gender is determined, if your diet will help, and absolutely certain ways to conceive a baby boy.
How Is Gender Determined?
How did we find out how gender is chosen? Let’s take a quick look at the history of understanding how to conceive a baby boy.
Myths and Legends
Up until quite recently in human history, we still didn’t quite understand conception. It was only with the advent of microscopes that scientists finally realized the vital role of both sperm and egg in reproduction.
When they were first discovered, sperm were thought to be worms or parasites. Later, it was common knowledge that sperm were tiny little people, who already had a gender. They were simply just shrunk up and ready for implantation into a womb, making women nothing more than an incubator for an entirely male product (takes the pressure off us though, eh?).
The Real Facts
How gender is actually determined is way cooler. Almost every cell in your body contains 46 chromosomes. This is like the blueprint for your body. Facial structure, eye colour, errant belly button hair—all encoded into the very fabric of you.
Your baby will have features of you and your partner because each of you carries half of that code within your reproductive cells. Each sperm and egg carry only 23 of these essential building blocks. Each chromosome finds its partner when the egg and sperm meet, and your baby is formed.
Every egg is coded X. Sperm are fairly evenly split between X and Y coding. You will conceive a baby boy when a Y gendered sperm reaches the egg, XY. If an X beats it, you’ll have a girl, XX.
Tales and Truths
What methods of conception have you heard from your grandmother? That if you have sex facing north, you’ll conceive a baby boy? Maybe the baby boy diet for father is ‘starvation’ or ‘acidic’. If you have sex right before you ovulate, you’ll more likely have one gender or the other?
Some of the old wive’s tales and ways to conceive a baby boy naturally have a bit of basis in fact. Let’s see which will prove the truest.
Left or Right
Did anyone ever tell you that left-handed people are sinister, or somehow wrong? For a long time, anyone who used the ‘wrong’ hand would be forced to learn how to complete tasks with the right, to spare them scrutiny. I think we all remember a sadistic teacher rapping the knuckles of a left-handed student to force them back to right-handed writing.
What a surprise then that baby girls were thought to come from the left testicle’s sperm or from the left ovary’s egg. Way back in 1748, a French doctor named Procope-Couteau insisted that women could choose to conceive a baby boy if only they would lie on their left side so that the descending egg would have to come from the correct ovary. By ‘correct’ of course, he meant the right side, the baby boy making ovaries.
There is a tiny kernel of truth to this, but it has nothing to do with the gender of the baby. As it turns out, eggs from the right ovary produced more complete and healthy pregnancies than the left in IVF studies. There isn’t a reason why yet, but this research suggests you can have better luck getting pregnant if you track ovulation and choose to conceive when the egg is released from the right ovary.
Does Diet Determine Designation?
There are many old tales about how to live your life before conception. Some of these include diets and beverages that will ensure you can choose the gender of your baby just by stockpiling the fridge.
A Beautiful Bunch of Ripe Bananas—For Mum!
I’ve always heard that eating bananas was a sure-fire baby boy diet for mothers. Besides the…rather phallic implications of a banana, it was also thought that a high level of potassium would somehow help the Y sperm to reach the egg first. In studies, mums who ate a banana every morning DID have a higher chance of conceiving a boy.
Unfortunately, the banana itself probably has nothing to do with it. Turns out, more mum’s conceive a baby boy naturally if they have an elevated calorie diet before conception. If you want to follow a baby boy diet for mother that’s healthy, you should consult your OB GYN or a nutritionist. They might even recommend bananas as a healthy way to add vitamins and minerals, as well as those precious calories, into your diet.
Gender Stereotype Food—For Dad!
In Ancient Greece, the great writer and doctor Hippocrates (you may know him from modern doctor’s Hippocratic Oath) prescribed a baby boy diet for father. Like a fair number of the famous prescriptions, it has no basis in fact or science, but with traditional gender roles.
For fathers to produce sons, it was imperative that he keep his 4 Humors in the correct balance. By eating a diet of ‘hot and dry’ foods, he would be more manly and thus produce the desired son. Eating lettuce, drinking white wine, and other ‘cold and wet’ foods would raise the chances of a baby girl.
If dad really wanted to conceive a baby boy, he should have red wine, steak and a variety of spices. Hippocrates also suggested that couples wishing for a boy should have sex when the woman’s womb is ‘hot and dry’, after menstruation has stopped. The combination of two ‘hot and dry’ environments would surely produce a boy.
This timing would suggest sex right around ovulation, but whether ol’ Doc Hippoc knew what that was is debatable. It does mean that this could be a precursor to the modern-day methods that tell us how to conceive a boy.
Shettels and Babydust Methods
There are a few key old wives tales (and a bit of science) that form both the Shettels and Babydust Method. According to these methods, you should follow specific sexual positions and timing to ensure that you can conceive a baby boy naturally.
These methods draw from the idea that Y coded sperm are faster swimmers, but far more fragile than their X coded buddies. According to Shettels, you’ll also want the sperm to be as deep as possible so that the Ys have the best chance of reaching the egg first.
Since the Y sperm can swim faster, you’ll also need to do the deed as close as possible to ovulation to conceive a baby boy. If you’re too early the X chromosomes will win the race because they can survive longer waiting for the egg. The Babydust Method is very specific that if you want to conceive a baby boy, you have to know your cycle like the back of your hand and have sex twice, no more and no less, just at the moment of ovulation.
Many studies show that the different genders of sperm don’t swim any faster than each other, in practice. However, because the X chromosomes are markedly bigger than their Y counterparts, they do lag behind.
They both have the same dedication, one is just hindered by weight. This can give some credence to the idea that the ‘angle of approach’ will influence if you conceive a baby boy.
The area of deposit also seems to have scientific backing. Y-coded sperm are much more susceptible to the intense pH changes that result from being transferred from the testes to the womb. More male sperm die off, which leaves the X chromosomes a better chance to implant. If the male sperm are closer to the egg (being ejaculated deep within the entrance of the cervix) then they may stand a better chance of reaching the egg first.
If you’re really interested in conceiving a boy, Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) has become available to parents. It is used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF)
If you want a 100% foolproof way to conceive a baby boy, then you may be out of luck. But for a higher success rate, some parents turn to PGD in conjunction with IVF.
In vitro fertilization is when two genetic donors have a need, due to infertility or inability to conceive sexually, they can combine their chromosomes in a lab. A few eggs are harvested in an outpatient procedure, as well as sperm (though the method is far less invasive). These are then combined together and implanted in the womb for growth.
According to one study, IVF naturally produces 55% male offspring, as opposed to the normal 50%, so your chances are raised. You can also opt for the Ericsson Method, which greatly separates the sperm by its X and Y coding. Not all of the sperm genders can be separated, but your chances are raised between 60–80%.
There are currently tests being done on animal sperm to separate the chromosomes completely, either to immobilize them or kill them off, thereby leaving all of the remaining sperm the gender of your choice. These are far from being in human trials, but the results are promising.
What Does All This Mean?
Choosing to conceive a baby, no matter the gender, is a wonderful decision. However, without interventional methods, your chances of raising a son are usually going to stay around 50/50. By planning your intercourse around ovulation, having sex at specific times, and choosing a good diet, you may be able to increase your chances of conceiving a boy.
There is no foolproof way to have a baby boy, even with advanced science. Scientifically separating the sperm by gender can raise your likelihood, but is still not 100%. IVF can also be expensive and very trying for mum’s body.
While none of these tips can give you the exact power to choose a baby’s gender, you can help skew the odds in your favor. Talk with your partner about planning your new bundle of joy!