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Gender Prediction: How Can I Conceive A Boy Or Girl?

Dr TC Tan | Published on February 15, 2023

Are you a mum of 2 boys hoping to add a little girl power to the household? Some parents have preferences over the gender of their child and are set on achieving their goal.

Gender selection by assisted reproductive techniques is not allowed in Singapore but there are some natural methods that may help increase the probability of conceiving a baby of your desired gender. What’s important is that your baby is happy and healthy — as most parents would agree.

Boy Or Girl? The X And Y Factors

First of all, understand that the gender of the baby is determined by the sperm that fertilises the egg. An egg only carries the X chromosome, while sperm can carry either the X chromosome or the Y chromosome. The gender of the baby hinges on which sperm — X for a girl and Y for a boy — reaches the egg first and fertilises it.

In short:

X chromosome (from egg) + X chromosome (from sperm) = baby girl (XX)

X chromosome (from egg) + Y chromosome (from sperm) = baby boy (XY)

Although the baby is conceived within a woman’s body, it’s actually the father’s sperm that decides if the bundle of joy is going to be a boy or a girl.

Better Swimmer Vs Resilient Survivor

In the 1960s, Dr Landrum Shettles explained in his book How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby that sperm carrying the Y chromosome (male sperm) swim faster but are more short-lived than their counterparts (sperm carrying the X chromosome, or female sperm).

On average, a sperm’s lifespan in the female body is around 2–3 days. He suggested that couples who want a baby boy should have sex as close to ovulation day as possible because male sperm have the advantage of being the faster swimmers and will reach the egg sooner. On the other hand, if you desire a baby girl, his advice is that you should have intercourse earlier — ideally a few days before ovulation but still within the fertile window — so by the time ovulation occurs, most male sperm would have died off, leaving the hardy female sperms to continue swimming towards their prize. This is known as the Shettles Method.

According to this method, the position where sperm are deposited is also important. By the same principle, ejaculating closer to the cervix means a shorter distance to the egg, which lets male sperm reach their destination easier. Spread eagle position or doggy style is recommended for deeper penetration, while woman-on-top position allows for shallower penetration.

Basically, according to the Shettles Method, if you want to strategise your conception:

  • Determine when you ovulate
  • If you prefer a baby girl, have intercourse a few days before you ovulate and use a female-on-top position
  • If you prefer a baby boy, have intercourse 24 hours before you ovulate and go for a spread eagle position
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