If you have several thousand dollars to drop on seemingly space-age technology, you can sort sperm or choose boy embryos at the time of conception to guarantee the sex of your baby. If you're doing things the old-fashioned way, you have an arsenal of folk wisdom and old-wives' tales mixed with a dash of science that purports that you can control, or at least influence, your baby's gender with the foods you eat. While no conclusive proof exists that diet affects the sex of your baby, as long as you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, there's no harm in trying a nutritional approach to sex selection.
Doctors generally advise women to lose excess weight before pregnancy and when trying to conceive. Doing so can help prevent fertility problems and pregnancy complications. However, research published by the "Proceedings of the Royal Society B; Biological Sciences" found that women who consume more calories, who have more glucose in their blood and who eat more nutritionally fortified foods, such as breakfast cereal, have boys more often. This might be due to the fact that boy embryos aren't as durable as girl embryos and require more energy and nutrients to implant and develop. Scientists haven't verified this or the exact cause of these research findings, but they make a compelling case for eating plenty of calorie- and nutrient-rich foods instead of restricting calories and dieting before and during conception if you want to deliver a baby boy.
The foods you eat contribute to the pH balance of your vaginal secretions and might influence the sex of your baby, according to Dr. Landrum Shettles, who tested this theory independently by placing sperm in vials containing vaginal fluid at varying levels of acidity. What he found was that the more alkaline the vaginal fluid, the better the Y, or boy-causing sperm, performed. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. Get your protein from eggs, nuts and seeds. Eat only very small amounts of oils, dairy and refined grains, as they acidify the body. Drink plenty of water.
Your baby's gender is determined by chromosomes. A Y chromosome in a sperm means a boy, while X chromosomes lead to girls. Once fertilization of the egg with the sperm takes place, your diet can't change the gender of your child. As indicated by the U.K. study, high-energy, nutrient-dense foods might support boy embryos better than calorie-restricted diets, but following folk wisdom traditions, such as eating salty foods to have a boy, can't change your baby once it's been conceived.
Diet for Dads
Dads can alter their diets to help give the Y sperm an upper hand. One tactic involves getting at least 9 milligrams of zinc each day from foods such as oysters, according to nutritionist Bridget Swinney. Zinc helps strengthen the male reproductive system and boosts testosterone. Shettles recommends that males drink a strong cup of coffee 10 to 15 minutes before conception to give male-producing sperm an energy boost.
- Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences: You Are What Your Mother Eats...
- How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby; Dr. Landrum Shettles; October 2006
- BabyCenter: Can Some Foods Increase Our Chances of Conceiving?
- BabyZone: The pH Diet and Your Fertility
- BabyCenter: Choosing Your Baby's Sex -- What the Scientists Say
- BabyCenter: Getting pregnant -- How Babies Are Made