The Science of Pregnancy and Gender Selection

Brianna Metter
The Paw Print

Are you trying to conceive a baby? Are you desperate for it to be a specific gender? Most traditional college students have never actually pondered these questions, but someday, these questions could matter. When it comes to that moment, science can play a key role in determining the sex of a baby.

Have you ever wondered if foods can influence the sex of the baby? A recent study in the UK has shown “women who [eat] at least one bowl of breakfast cereal daily [are] 87% more likely to have boys than those who [eat] no more than one bowlful per week.” While it may be easy to believe such claims, there is no concrete scientific evidence behind it. Another more scientifically grounded claim is that variations in sex positions can influence the gender of the child.

Most people know that there are two sex chromosomes, X and Y, which determine gender. Males have XY chromosomes and females have XX chromosomes. The male’s Y chromosome is lighter than the X chromosome. This may seem like a small difference, but this can affect how fast a sperm (a.k.a. the genetic bullet) containing the chromosome travels. This means that any position that gives the sperm carrying the Y chromosome a direct shot to the egg will likely increase your chance of conceiving a boy. This includes missionary (male on top), “doggy-style” and standing. While it is somewhat easier to conceive a boy since the sperm with the Y chromosome moves faster, here are some ways that allow the X containing sperm to have an advantage, yielding a girl: any position that allows a more shallow insertion or control over depth such as missionary (woman on top). The reason for this is that not only do sperm with a Y chromosome travel faster; they also have a shorter life span. So the farther the sperm has to travel, the more likely the prevailing sperm will contain an X chromosome.

If you are already pregnant, some food cravings, according to wife’s tales, can indicate the gender of your child. If a pregnant woman primarily craves sweets or dairy products, especially milk, it is said that she will have a girl. If a woman craves sour, salty, spicy or protein-rich foods, it means she is having a boy. Boys can also be indicated by a woman craving lemons or meat, even if these foods were not previously consumed.

Food cravings, which result from a change in taste, have a scientific explanation as well. Many people are aware that hormones regulate human behavior as well as internal functions of the body. Before a woman is pregnant, her hormones are regulated in a certain way and cause her to prefer certain foods over others. During pregnancy, these same hormones are regulated differently and cause a woman’s tastes to change. This causes interesting food choices and combinations such as pickles and ice cream.

So when you are ready for your first child and would like to try for a specific gender, remember these ways! Note: These are not 100% effective, but they do have high success rates. And don’t forget to show some love to your local Tribeta Biology Club! is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet