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Gender Selection Methods

The toughest aspect of planning families is, getting over your hopes for a girl or for a boy, but, there are ways which allow you to select the gender of your would-be bundle of joy. This article talks about the various methods available for gender selection.
"Cindy grew up with 4 brothers. Ever since childhood, she dreamed of dressing her little girl in pretty pinks. But, nature had something else in store for her. Cindy had 3 sons. She really wanted a girl. She did her research and tried out a few sex selection methods. You can imagine her joy when the next child she had, was a girl."

Now, I know you are going to ask me, what are those miracle methods that she used to make her dream come true.

Artificial Methods

These can give out the best odds for getting the gender of your choice. However, they are quite heavy on the pocket.

Sperm Sorting Method
In this, the X sperm and Y sperm are sorted. Hence, if a baby boy is desired, the Y sperms are used. On the other hand, if a baby girl is desired, then the X sperm are used. The sorted sample is then used to impregnate the woman, through human artificial insemination. The success rates are high but not 100%. If a boy is desired, there is 10% chance that it can be a girl. If, on the other hand, a baby girl is desired, there is a 24% chance that it can be a boy.

Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnoses
In this process, the eggs are collected from the mother and fertilized with the father's sperm. The consequential embryos are then, incubated for 3 days, until they have grown to 6 - 10 cells each. Then a single cell is removed from each of the embryos and studied. Each of these cells consists of complete copy of the DNA in its chromosomes. Analysis of this single cell can foretell the embryo's future. So, whether it will have a genetic disease, chromosomal abnormalities, and whether it will become a boy or a girl, we can answer these questions. The embryos containing cells of the desired gender are then artificially inseminated into the woman.

Natural Methods

These have fairly good success rates. They are relatively slower acting, but they cost less as well.

The Shettles Method
As per the Shettles theory, X sperms and Y sperms have certain characteristics. X sperm (leading to a girl) is slower, larger, oval headed, more resilient, and long-lived. On the other hand, Y sperm (leading to a boy) is faster, smaller, round headed, fragile, and short-lived. As such, ideal conditions would see a Y sperm, with its speed, winning the race to the egg, leading to conception of a boy. However, under less than ideal conditions, the X sperm, due to its resilience, will out live the Y sperm, leading to conception of a girl. Hence, as per this method the timing of intercourse and the time of ovulation are kept track of, for best results.

O+12 Method
This process negates the Shettles theory and states that, for conception of a girl, intercourse needs to be had 1 day after ovulation. Although, there are a list of instructions that need to be followed for best effects.
  • The father cannot ejaculate at least 7 days prior (if possible, more). This will lead to more X sperm, as compared to Y sperms.
  • Have intercourse only 8 - 20 hours after ovulation.
  • Avoid intercourse until you are infertile. That is, either use condoms or avoid sex until your 'safe days'.
All these are not 100% successful. But they increase the probability of the desired gender. Nonetheless, no matter what the gender, you need to love your child come what may.
By Rashida Khilawala
Last Updated: 10/11/2011
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