One of the first questions you’re going to hear when you announce your pregnancy is, “Do you want a boy or a girl?” Honestly, you might even hear it when you’re still trying to decide if you’re ready for a baby. And, listen, we know that the most important thing to you is that your baby is healthy and happy. However, you may also be hoping for one sex over the other. A lot of parents, whether they fess up or not, probably feel the same way on some level. If you’re here, it means you want to know how to conceive a boy — and that’s A-okay (as long as you understand and accept that the sex of your child may not be the gender identity they choose for themselves later).
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we should probably tell you upfront that there is no way to 100 percent guarantee you’re going to get a bouncing baby boy. Because, you know, life. However, there are a few fun things you can try and one not-as-much-fun-but-more-effective way that could very well deliver the son you’ve been dreaming of.
Is it even possible to guarantee a baby boy?
In a word, no. Although scientific advances may one day change this, the inherent unpredictability of procreation means you can’t guarantee one sex over the other at this moment in time. Having said that, certain medical procedures can get you close to a guarantee. But since they’re often cost-prohibitive, you may be more interested in some of the wives’ tales and theories about influencing a baby’s sex. These include:
A 2008 study out of the University of Sussex in collaboration with the University of Oxford linked consuming more calories and higher levels of potassium with conceiving a boy. Granted, you should focus primarily on following a healthy, balanced diet when you’re trying to conceive. But maybe adding a few more bananas or sweet potatoes isn’t a bad idea (unless you’re diabetic, in which case you should eat high GI foods in moderation). Oh, and cereal! The study found that women who ate more of this breakfast food typically had male infants.
Other research suggests that girls prefer a more acidic environment. To that end, you could try eating more alkaline foods if you want to conceive a boy.
When it comes to gender-swaying, some people insist timing is everything. Here are a few methods that seem to back that assertion:
- The Shettles Method: The gist here is that female-producing sperm (X-sperm) are slower swimmers than male-producing sperm (Y-sperm), but they live longer. To capitalize on that, the Shettles Method recommends having sex as close as possible to ovulation if you’re shooting for a boy.
- The Whelan Method: Not crazy about the Shettles Method? Well, you could always do the opposite — aka the Whelan Method. Here, the idea is that a woman’s body is more favorable to Y-sperm at certain times in her cycle. Specifically, it states you should have sex four to six days before ovulation if you want a boy.
Some people pair timing methods with sexual positions to up their odds even further (although, again, please know that most of these theories are not proven by science). The logic with choosing specific positions relies on the fact that male sperm can’t swim as long as female sperm. Hence, you may be able to give male sperm a head start in the race against gravity to reach the egg. To do so, you’d want to go for positions that allow for the deepest penetration, like doggy style, standing up, and straddling. Interesting note? It’s believed that the woman climaxing first may also help to conceive a boy.
What medical interventions might help conceive a boy?
If you have your heart set on having a baby boy and you have ample cash flow or savings, you might want to consider a more high-tech form of gender-selection. These include:
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD): This method was created to help identify markers of serious genetic disorders. However, it has also become popular for determining gender. The process, which takes place in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization, involves doctors examining cells from each fertilized embryo and keeping only embryos of the desired sex for implantation. Although it’s thought to be around 95 percent accurate, it’s also controversial. Plus, it’s extremely costly and requires IVF. Many fertility centers will do their best to point hopeful parents in another direction if there isn’t a legitimate medical reason for wanting to select gender (which might include genetic disorders linked to sex).
- Sperm sorting or spinning: Another approach that leans into science is sperm sorting, also known as MicroSort or “spinning.” The process by which this takes place is flow cytometry. Here, the father-to-be provides a sperm sample, which is separated out into X and Y chromosomes. How does this even work? Interestingly, girl sperm contains 2.8 percent more DNA than boys’ — in other words, it’s heavier. The sperm with the desired chromosomes will then be used for IVF or intrauterine insemination (IUI).
What are some signs I’m carrying a baby boy?
The only way to truly know if you’re carrying a boy is by consulting with your doctor for a special blood test, ultrasound, or both. But there are some fun, not-scientific-at-all ways mamas swear tip them off to their baby’s sex. According to wives’ tales, if the answers to these questions are yes, these are all possible indicators you’ve got a baby boy on the way.
- Is the baby’s heart rate less than 140 beats per minute?
- Does your belly look like a basketball?
- Have your areolas darkened considerably?
- Do you crave salty or sour foods?
- Have you had a smooth and morning sickness free early pregnancy?
- Is your baby weight is more visible on the front of your body?
- Is your baby bump low?
- Do you crave a lot of meats and cheeses?
- Are your feet colder than they were prior to you becoming pregnant?
- Is the hair on your legs growing even faster?
- Are your hands super dry all the time?
- Is your partner also gaining some baby weight?
- Is your urine a bright yellow color?
- Is your nose spreading or getting larger?
- Are you having headaches all the time?
How early can I find out if I’m having a boy?
Some parents decide to wait until baby is born to find out what their child’s sex is, and good for them for having that kind of willpower! For the rest of us, waiting is torture. So, when can you find out the sex of your baby? Well, that depends.
With IVF, you may have the option of choosing your baby’s sex in conjunction with the procedure. Otherwise, you can discover your baby’s sex either in one of several ways: a non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT), chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, an ultrasound specifically to determine sex, or an anatomy scan. On the early end, you could find out as soon as 10 weeks of pregnancy. On the later end, you could find out around 21 weeks.