For ages, couples have been trying to choose their baby's gender by eating certain foods, timing intercourse, utilizing strange sexual positions, even consulting Chinese gender calendars. While the old wives' tales aren't exactly based on medical science, they're right 50% of the time — so what's the harm in trying? These days, modern medicine can help you in choosing the sex of your baby, although the process does come with a whopping price tag. Depending upon how high tech you go, choosing the sex of your baby can cost as little as nothing, all the way up to around $20,000 US Dollars (USD).
Low Tech Options to Choosing the Sex of Your Baby
The Shettles method of gender selection contends that because boy producing sperm moves or "swims" faster than "girl sperm," having sex closer to when you ovulate increases the odds that the boy sperm will get there faster, and therefore fertilize your egg. On the other hand, if you want a girl, having sex two to four days prior to ovulation gives those girls a chance at getting to the egg.
One method that is in opposition to the Shettles method is the Whelan method of choosing the sex of your baby. This purports that women's bodies provide more favorable environments to boy vs. girl sperm at different times of the ovulation cycle. If you want a boy, it's best to have intercourse a few days prior to ovulation.
While these two methods of gender selection can be done at home at little to no cost, you do have to find a way to track your ovulation, using the basal temperature method, tracking it on a calendar or purchasing an ovulation kit. Another fairly low cost, low tech method of choosing the sex of your baby is the Ericsson method, which has been in use since the 1970s. The science behind this method is based on how "fast" sperm swims. Supposedly, boy producing sperm swims faster than girl producing sperm. A sperm sample is separated by which sperm get to the bottom of the dish first. Depending upon which gender is desired, the boy or girl sperm is then inserted into the woman using artificial insemination (AI). Proponents of the Ericsson method claim that it is around 78% to 85% effective in producing a boy, and 73% to 75% for a girl. Each round of the procedure costs around $600 USD.
High Tech Options for Choosing the Sex of Your Baby
You should be aware that utilizing these options for gender selection is extremely expensive, as well as physically invasive. Despite this, they still are not 100% guaranteed to result in the birth of a baby of the gender you desire. Most fertility clinics that do gender selection have strict requirements. There are very few fertility clinics that will do gender selection just for the sake of choosing the sex of your baby. In general, you must be over 38, be married, already have children and are trying to avoid a genetic disease that may be gender based.
With in vitro fertilization (IVF), you can use preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), where the embryo that has been created in the lab is genetically screened to determine gender and identify any genetic diseases. Only those embryos of the right gender are implanted through IVF. Although it is 100% successful in selecting the correct sex, only 43% of IVF cases result in successful pregnancies. With IVF, you also run the risk of multiples. PGD, when used with IVF, is extremely expensive — typically costing around $20,000 USD.
MicroSort is another gender selection option which is fairly successful for choosing the sex of your baby. It is not FDA approved, and was first devised in 1995. it utilizes a fluorescent dye to isolate girl and boy sperm. Because x chromosome carrying sperm is larger, it takes more dye, and therefore glows brighter under the special light. The sperm is separated according to what gender is desired, then is either artificially inseminated or used for IVF. IVF has a higher success rate for pregnancy than AI, which only has a 16.6% success rate for pregnancy each time. MicroSort can cost around $3,000 for AI, and you can add another $15,000 for IVF.