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Can You Choose Your Baby's Sex?

True or false: Having sex three or four days before you ovulate, then not again until after ovulation, increases your chance of having a baby girl.

False, says Joel Bernstien, MD, in the WebMD Trying to Conceive Community. You may have heard about several methods for ensuring that you'll have a girl or a boy. But there is simply no scientific evidence to support any of them.

Where did the idea of timing intercourse to control a baby's sex come from? The theory begins with the fact that each sperm cell carries the genetic material to produce either a boy or a girl. "Female" (X chromosome) sperm tend to be larger, slower moving, and longer-living than their "male" (Y chromosome) counterparts.

Based on these facts, Landrum Shettles, MD, PhD, proposed that, if a woman knows what day she will ovulate -- or release an egg -- and limits sex to a few days before that, the female sperm are more likely to still be hanging around for the event. So the woman will be more likely to give birth to a girl.

Bernstien says there are two problems with the Shettles theory. First, medical trials have not been able to prove that it works. And second, limiting sex exclusively to the days around ovulation can reduce your chances of conceiving any child -- boy or girl.

Bernstien's advice to couples who are trying to conceive is have sex every day or every other day during the woman's ovulation period. And remember to relax and have fun.

What are your thoughts on trying to control the sex of your baby? Do you feel that it can be done?

Discussion led by Joel Bernstien, MD Guest Expert
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