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Can I sway the sex of my baby?

 In Ask an Expert, OB/GYN & Women's Health, Pulse Blog

Q: Is there anything I can do to influence the sex of my baby?

The short answer is probably not (unless you have a lot of extra money to spend).

If we are talking about at-home techniques, nothing really seems to work consistently. That is not to say that you can’t find all kinds of reports and studies online. The most commonly attempted method is probably timing intercourse closer to ovulation for a boy and further away for a girl. Unfortunately for those who have a strong preference, this approach doesn’t seem to tip the odds one way or the other. Some studies even report the opposite method being effective: closer to ovulation for a girl and further away for a boy. If it’s not dangerous, I’m not opposed to couples trying these techniques. Keep in mind though that it can cause unnecessary stress. If you try to time intercourse too closely, you might miss your fertility window, delaying pregnancy. For the average couple, I’d recommend enjoying the process of trying to conceive because the sex of your baby is probably random.

Some patients require in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant. In rare cases preimplantation genetic testing is recommended. This is usually done to make sure an implanted embryo doesn’t carry a concerning genetic mutation. It is one of the rare situations where deciding the sex of your baby is absolutely possible. The ethics of doing genetic testing just to determine the sex is debatable. It’s illegal in some countries, but not in the U.S. So, if you have a really strong preference, are willing to spend over $15,000, and can travel to a specialized center, this technically is possible.

—Jacob Calvert, MD

Dr. Jacob Calvert is an OBGYN at Vancouver Clinic. He enjoys providing comprehensive prenatal care for low- and high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Calvert has received extensive training in minimally invasive surgery, including robotic surgery.

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