How to conceive a girl

Zofishan Umair
Zofishan Umair
Zofishan is a journalist, humour columnist, and a mum who has survived nappy explosions mid-air. She has over a decade of experience writing for print and online publications and is currently working on her first book.
Created on Jun 14, 2024 · 9 mins read

Many couples hoping to fall pregnant with a girl get a lot of ….um, interesting tips. And while the advice may be well-intentioned, it just doesn’t get the results one would be quite hoping for.  


“Get busy when the moon’s declination is +26° 52′ 05’” they’ll say, or “Eat more eggs and yogurt!” Maybe even suggest, “Give in to your sweet cravings and drown that tub of vanilla ice cream.”

And as tempting as that last piece of advice is (the tub and not the eggs), chances are you might still end up pregnant with a baby boy and a lot of unwanted calories that went straight to your butt.

(Hey, ALL that sugar had to go somewhere.)

The fact is, as of right now, there is little to no research backing up these claims. You are what you eat, but it doesn’t influence what you can create.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t increase your odds of conceiving a girl. There happen to be methods, tips, and little tricks that can ‘help’ to push you to conceive the desired sex.

They might work, or they might not. (There’s little medical evidence. )But, they’re worth a shot as they play with timing, sexual positions, and food. So, let’s dig into them and also explore what science has to say.

What are the chances of having a girl?


There are around 105 males per 100 female births around the world, according to WHO. This means about 51% of newborn births may result in a baby boy.

So with the odds almost balanced, is it possible to tip the scale in your favor?


Reproduction 101:


To create a baby, sperm from the male partner needs to enter the egg, which is in the mother’s uterus.

There are two types of sperm: girl sperm and boy sperm.

  • Girl sperm or X sperm: Some sperms have X chromosomes and are called girl sperms or X sperms
  • Male Sperm, Y sperm, and boy sperm: Some sperm have Y chromosomes, which are the boy sperm, aka Y sperm or male sperm.

How does sperm determine gender selection?
These X and Y chromosomes determine the gender of the baby. XX means it’ll be a baby girl while XY means you’re more likely to have a baby boy.

The sperm that fertilizes the egg at this point in the cycle gets to pick the gender. If a male sperm wins the race to the egg, you’ll get a baby boy. If a female sperm wins the race, you’ll be having a little girl.


How to conceive a baby girl, naturally


Great! That was simple enough. But was it useful? It’s not like you have any control over those sperms!

Or do you?

Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Well, male sperms are a lot like the hares while female sperms (X sperm) are like the tortoise- slow, and steady but determined to win the race.

And you can improve their shot by using the Shettles method. (but more on that later!)

We should point out that there isn’t a lot of updated scientific research to support this method—and some others, but many parents who went on to have baby girls swear by it.

Besides, there’s not much to lose, (or gain, unlike all the extra calories from those ice cream tubs) from some of these methods.

But before we do, let’s try and understand reproduction, the process of gender selection, and of course, how to influence gender selection.

The Shettles method
Shettle’s method requires an understanding of the reproduction process.

The X sperms aka the tortoise or the girl sperms are slower, but they are also more resilient. Once inside, they can also live longer (up to four days.)

On the other hand, the Y sperm are faster and run like the hare to win the race. But if there’s no egg, their energy fizzles out and they go down for a nap.

Now to improve the chances of the tortoise winning the race, Shettles suggested that you hit the sheets a day or two before ovulation. With no egg, or finish line in sight, the hare will just give up and by the time the slower but more resilient turtle shows up, it’ll be ovulation time. And boom!

Hi tortoise, meet Egg. Egg meet tortoise.
Now make the magic happen.

Hello, baby girl.

In short: the fertile days for having a girl are two to four days before ovulation. So have sex closer to ovulation or on ovulation day, and the girl sperm will have a greater chance of survival. And by the time the egg drops, the boy sperm will no longer be viable.

Shettles further believed that the missionary position was the best for conceiving a girl.

What about diet?
Many theories claim that the chance of conceiving a girl can be increased by eating foods high in calcium and magnesium. Others believe that eating acidic food makes the body acidic, which makes it difficult for boy sperm to survive. This leaves that path clear for X sperm to make their way to the egg.

There’s no science backing this, but since acidic foods include dairy, fish, olives, and blueberries, many women give it a try. After all, it is important to eat healthy before and during pregnancy.

Some women swear by oranges, which (along with other citrus foods) do contain potassium, calcium, and folate (a B vitamin), but can they help you have a girl? Well, so far there’s no evidence to the claim but since folate helps fertility, it’s a great addition to your diet if you plan to conceive.

Timing of intercourse
As we mentioned, a baby’s sex can be influenced by the timing of intercourse. Once you know, have sex 2.5 to 4 days before ovulation.

Ready, set, chart!
Keeping a calendar to mark your ovulation days can help you time your intercourse and in turn, increase your chances of having a girl. You could use an ovulation kit or measure your basal body temperature to chart ovulation and keep a tab on them using an app.

More sex
Some experts suggest having more sex, starting from the day you end your period till the time ovulation occurs to increase your chances of a girl baby.

The Babydust method


Danielle Lloyd swears by it, and she had a daughter after four boys, so is it worth a shot?
Well, yes! The Babydust method suggested by Kathryn Taylor basically focuses on the timing and frequency of sex to increase the likelihood of having a girl (and supports what Shettles suggests too.)

However, this method requires you to measure the luteinizing hormone (LH) twice a day for three months to understand ovulation.

Is it worth a shot? Yes! After all, Taylor claims her Babydust Method has an 87% success rate.

General tips to help conceive a girl


Here are some other tips to help conceive a girl. Many support the Shettles method and are part of the strategies that Dr. Shettles shared. 

  • Shallow penetration: Instead of deep penetration, he advised couples to opt for shallow penetration and try the missionary position.
  • He advised parents to avoid a female orgasm as it increased the chance of conceiving a boy.
  • The girl sperms need an acidic ph so use an alkaline testing kit from the pharmacy to check your vaginal ph. You can add a vegetarian diet with leafy greens and corn to encourage a more acidic environment. (Don’t forget your folic acid.)
  • Avoid having sex once ovulation occurs.
  • One theory also suggests that women with a diet of higher-energy foods are more likely to have boys. This is just a theory but some mums do advise getting off a high-energy diet when trying to conceive a girl.

How to make sure you have a girl, medically


If you are willing to go down the path of science, there are a few methods like IVF and sperm sorting that can help you conceive a girl.

The first option is the preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). This method is used along with in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Once an embryo starts to develop, doctors do a small test on one cell (extracted from the embryo) to see if it’s a boy or a girl. Once the gender is confirmed, the embryos are implanted in the uterus and then mum does the rest.

However, be warned. While the results of this method are great, it isn’t cheap! Plus, there is a lot of controversy around gender selection just because you have a preference.

The process was initially designed for couples who were carriers of serious genetic disorders like Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) or other medical conditions.

Sperm sorting
Little girls shine bright and the sperm sorting method uses this tiny little detail to make them literally stand out!

Before you go, ‘whaaat’, let us explain how sperm sorting works.

Sperm sorting is also called the MicroSort Method. It is used to separate male sperms from female sperms through a process called flow cytometry. First, the female sperm are separated by staining with a special fluorescent material that makes them shine brighter than the male sperm.

Once the sperms have been sorted, the female sperms are used to fertilise the egg either through in vitro or through intrauterine insemination (IUI)

Then, nine months later, the parents find themselves holding their amazing new baby girl, who is ready to bring that sparkle to the world.

Improving your odds


If we had to list down the odds of the above methods working out, then of course, scientific methods like preimplantation genetic diagnosis PGD and sperm sorting score higher.

However, these methods are only recommended in extreme cases when there is a health risk to the baby, or a couple is unable to conceive naturally.

When it comes to the more natural methods, Shettles believed his method had a success rate of 75% and shared his findings and scientific evidence in his book, ‘How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby’.

As for the position of the moon, and the best month to conceive a girl, well, it’s safe to say that these can be labeled as myths.

Bottom line, you could – and should – eat healthy, load up on dairy and fruits, and try the natural methods, so you can sway the odds in your favour. Anyway, at the end of the day all we can wish for is a healthy baby – no matter the gender. 

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