How can I adjust my ph to make it ideal for gender selection?
March 2, 2009 7:39 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I are trying to have a baby girl. I have some questions about preconception gender selection techniques.

I know from school that x-sperm survive and swim better in an acidic environment. I also know that the ph of my "environment" will change during the ovulation cycle. I have the dates that during my cycle will favor a girl (and yes, I do know that it is not foolproof. We are just looking something to tip the scales in our favor.) I was also given a diet that will help and was told that there are some other products (not douches) that will alter my ph. Can anyone help me with finding something that will help skew the ph of my "environment" to be 5.9 or lower (that is the number that I was given)? Also, I am wondering what anyone thinks of this? Please note that I have not read any of the details of the Dr. Shettles method and am therefore not using it. But, I am open to any suggestions that anyone should have to help. Also, we would like to do this the natural way seeing as how with the enconomy, sperm sorting and IVF is not an ideal option financially. So, pretty much anything else is out of the question right now.
posted by kochanie to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Also, I am wondering what anyone thinks of this?

I think you are pretty much wasting time, I am seeing a whole lot of sites that lay out different methods of pH selection ideas backed up the the rare and dramatic personal account and no scientific sources at all. Well, I found a paper from the late 70's that said X and Y sperm survive equally well in different conditions.

But this is not my area.
posted by Science! at 8:01 PM on March 2, 2009

Well, this summer a study came out that found a connection between the mother's caloric intake and gender. Basically, more calories = boy.

The Bump has a Chinese gender predictor chart. I plugged in my data (ie, my mom's age) and a few of my friends', and it was surprisingly accurate.

I wouldn't count on *any* of these things working, though.

I started following all these things when I was a nanny and immersed in baby-dom. No clocks are ticking, I swear!
posted by charmcityblues at 8:26 PM on March 2, 2009

For the record, adoption is out, for more reasons than just economical ones. The reason that we would like a girl is that we already have a boy and all of my brother's kids are boys. I actually learned of this many years ago from my molecular biology professor. We will welcome and love a boy just as much as a girl. However, we would like to just put the odds in our favor for a girl.
posted by kochanie at 8:32 PM on March 2, 2009

Well, that Chinese gender predictor chart was wrong for over half the people I know, so my anecdotal experience was the opposite.

I'm not an expert, but in a women's reproductive health class I took, the professor and another expert said there is no effective way to select the gender of your child (other than IVF or adoption).
posted by fructose at 8:33 PM on March 2, 2009

[few comments removed - please either answer the question or keep on walking, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 8:36 PM on March 2, 2009

In Taking Charge of Your Fertility, much is made about the timing of your conception sex. She says girl sperm are hardier, boy sperm are quicker. Have sex early in your fertile period and the boy sperm will be fatigued by the time the egg shows up. Of course, this all sort of depends on how obvious your fertile cycle is. I think you need to have sex right at the beginning of your fertile cycle, about 4 days before ovulation, for this effect to kick in. Even so, I wouldn't be investing in any pink until that second trimester ultrasound.
posted by Foam Pants at 9:23 PM on March 2, 2009

Oh, and once my GP had me put these acid gels caps up my hooha to change my pH. Ask you OBGYN. They were a special order from the pharmacy who made them for me, pretty cheaply, too.
posted by Foam Pants at 9:26 PM on March 2, 2009

I Seem to remember reading about a study where they found that fighter pilots had significantly more girls. Perhaps that is a career path your SO would like too.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:51 PM on March 2, 2009

I won't even pretend to fathom the sentiment behind that statement. You want a girl. That means you be less satisfied with a boy.

Actually, we want another child period. We would prefer a girl because 1) we already have 6 boys in the family and no girls and 2) this will probably be our last. I felt that I needed to clarify that we would welcome a healthy child regardless of the gender because of the comments about us absolutely wanting a girl and that we should adopt. (Those comments have vanished) I do have the funds available to do PGD. However, I feel that the money would serve our family better in our bank accounts. Especially since at any moment either of us could lose our jobs.
posted by kochanie at 10:17 PM on March 2, 2009

Theoretically, you could use some kind of technology to sort sperm into X and Y chromosome sperm, and then use only X chromosme sperm. typed "Sperm Sorting" into google and it looks like there are services that do this. So that might be the best way to do this, since it doesn't require invitro fertilization.
posted by delmoi at 10:59 PM on March 2, 2009

Your body is very good at physiological buffering so no diet is going to change the pH of, well, anything. Certainly not your vagina (food has to go through several systems, all designed to buffer and control pH, before any nutrients get even close to there if ever). Putting something acidic right into the environment sure, but diet no. So you can rule out that idea for a start. And any advice that comes with it or from the same will be equally as dodgy because it shows a fundamental lack of understanding of basic physiology.
posted by shelleycat at 2:04 AM on March 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

And any advice that comes with it or from the same will be equally as dodgy because it shows a fundamental lack of understanding of basic physiology.

This is key. You're talking about processes that are documented not to work, or that have such tiny rates of efficacy that you can't detect them in a population.

From the UpToDate topic (You probably don't have subscription access, but the citation links should work if you want to verify their sources, and I'd be happy to email you a copy if you MeMail me):

PATIENT CONTROLLED INTERVENTIONS — A number of publications in the lay press have purported to help parents determine the sex of their child. Timed intercourse and diet are the two most common methods, but neither is effective.

Diet — The Preconception Gender Diet is based on the theory that a couple can improve their chances of having a female infant by increasing dietary intake of both calcium and magnesium; to improve chances of having a male offspring, dietary intake of sodium and potassium should be increased [11]. Follow-up studies have not been able to verify these claims.

Timed intercourse — Timing intercourse for gender selection is based upon the belief that Y-bearing sperm move faster, but do not live as long, as X-bearing sperm. However, studies which have attempted to correlate the sex of offspring with timing of intercourse have reported conflicting results [12-15]. There is no strong evidence that timing plays an influential role in gender selection.

Time to pregnancy is considered a measure of fertility in couples not using contraception [16]. Interestingly, it has been postulated that the time to pregnancy affects the secondary sex ratio (ie, proportion of male births) [17]. The proposed mechanism is that environmental factors that affect sperm or oocyte quality may also affect gender. However, analysis of pooled data from large population surveys does not support this hypothesis: no association was found between the sex ratio and time to pregnancy, either within individual datasets or in the pooled analysis [18].

delmoi's advice is quite sage, as separation techniques are extremely effective, non-invasive, and inexpensive. However, the mechanism you're proposing is very unlikely to influence the gender of your child.
posted by Mayor West at 5:44 AM on March 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

Foam Pants is right. I think that's the best way to, without a clinical intervention, try for a girl. Have intercourse a few days before you ovulate and wish for the best. I, too, wanted a girl, and after 3-4 months of basal body temps and charting, did exactly that and got my baby girl.
posted by FergieBelle at 11:06 AM on March 3, 2009

I dunno, Mayor West has compiled some pretty damning evidence against the case of timed sex. Another point that Taking Charge of Your Fertility makes is men with jobs that expose them to toxins or extreme conditions that kill sperm are more likely to have girls. I think that's where the fighter pilots and anesthesiologists fathering more girls comes in. Perhaps your man could do a few stints as a crop duster...
posted by Foam Pants at 12:10 AM on March 25, 2009

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