Conceiving a Boy or a Girl

By SheCares Editorial Team | Updated: Aug 13, 2021

Aside from wishing for a healthy baby, most couples do have a preference when it comes to the gender of their future children.

Because gender swaying methods, whether natural or scientific, have always been on the radar of couples trying to conceive, there has been a variety of them created over the years to enable parents to choose baby gender before conception. However, despite their popularity, some of them have never been validated by science, an understanding of which can help couples make their baby-making process more constructive.

Keep on reading to discover natural and scientific methods to make your dream of conceiving a girl or getting pregnant with a boy a reality.

Conceiving a Boy or a Girl

Conceiving a Boy

Conceiving a Boy

Natural Methods to Conceive a Boy

There are two methods of choosing baby gender before conception, The Shettles Method and the Whelan Method, both of which are popular among parents-to-be, although studies have not found supporting evidence to validate them.

The Shettles Method to Conceive a Boy

The method proposes that male sperm swim faster but cannot withstand the acidic pH of the vagina as well as female sperm.

  • Couples trying to conceive a boy should have sex as close as possible to ovulation so that the male sperm will get to the egg first, leaving the slower female sperm behind.

  • Best boy-making sex should also ensure deep penetration to deposit the sperm near the cervix so that it is not affected by vaginal acidity.

  • The Shettles Method's supporters claim an 80-85% effectiveness in conceiving a boy.

The Whelan Method to Conceive a Boy

This method suggests that timing intercouse at specific periods during the cycle can increase the chances of conceiving a boy.

  • To conceive a baby boy, it is best to have sex four to six days before ovulation.

  • Whelan claims that her method increases the odds of conceiving a boy by up to 68%.

Scientific Methods to Conceive a Boy

Gender selection, also called sex selection, is the only scientifically recognized way to get pregnant with a girl or a boy.

It allows for the selection of the baby gender in the laboratory before in vitro fertilization (IVF) with or without intracytoplasmic injection (ICSI) as well as before artificial insemination (AI). However, these techniques have limitations that might make them unavailable to all couples.

Conceiving a Boy with IVF

Getting pregnant with a boy through IVF is possible through two gender selection techniques:

  • Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) can be used to select male embryos to be placed back in the uterus for implantation. PGS has been shown nearly 100% effective in conceiving a boy.

  • Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows to select the healthiest male embryos to be transferred to the uterus. Similarly to PGS, it is nearly 100% effective for boys.

Conceiving a Boy with AI

Getting pregnant with a boy through AI can be achieved with the following sex selection method:

  • Sperm sorting, such as the Ericsson Method, enables separation of male sperm from female sperm based on the fact that male sperm chromosomes are smaller and slightly have less DNA than female sperm. For the purpose of conceiving a boy, it is said to be 90% effective.

Conceiving a Girl

Conceiving a Girl

Natural Methods to Conceive a Girl

The Shettles Method

Since Shettles suggests that female sperm are slower but stronger than male sperm, timing intercourse and adjusting sex positions is the best way to conceive a girl.

  • Couples trying to conceive a girl should have sex about two and a half to three days before ovulation as the vaginal acidity will hinder the male sperm, favoring the female sperm.

  • Sex to conceive girl should ensure shallow penetration, depositing sperm at the entrance of the vagina so that male sperm are slowed down by the acidity.

  • The method claims its effectiveness to be 75-80% when trying for a girl.

The Whelan Method

Although different from Shettles' recommendations for conceiving a boy, Whelan's suggestions on how to get pregnant with a girl are quite similar between the two methods.

  • To conceive a baby girl, it is best to have sex two to three days before ovulation.

  • The Whelan Method is said to be up to 58% effective when conceiving a girl.

Scientific Methods to Conceive a Girl

As aforementioned, the only scientifically proven way to get pregnant with a girl is through gender selection with the help of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), like IVF or AI. It is worth to mention that these methods tend to be costly and oftentimes ethically controversial.

Conceiving a Girl with IVF

There are two methods of getting pregnant with a girl before proceeding with IVF, such as:

  • Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) can be used to isolate female embryos to be then placed in the uterus to be implanted. When conceiving a girl, PGS is nearly 100% effective.

  • Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), similarly to PGS, will allow for the placement of genetically normal female embryos in the uterus. The method is claimed to be nearly 100% effective for girls.

Conceiving a Girl with AI

Sex selection method of getting pregnant with a girl through AI consists of the following:

  • Sperm sorting allows for isolation of bulkier and heavier female sperm to be then prepared for artificial insemination. It is claimed to be 73% successful for girls. 

Key Takeaways

Aspiring parents in search of the best ways to get pregnant with a girl or conceive a boy are often ready to do whatever it takes to have a baby of the gender they wish for. Although a quick internet search for “how to conceive a girl or a boy” can result in a wide variety of recommendations, only a handful of these methods have actually been proven by science.

Two of the most popular natural gender swaying methods, namely the Shettles Method and the Whelan Method, both claim that intercourse timing can affect the baby's sex, though specific instructions oppose each other. Neither of the methods was ever validated by science, unlike scientific gender selection techniques, which are used with ARTs. They include various methods of embryo or sperm sorting before implantation or fertilization. Although highly effective, these methods of conceiving a boy or a girl might not be available to all couples.