Magazine article Newsweek

The Ancient Art of Making Babies: It's Just Amazing What Some People Will Try to Get That Boy or Girl of Their Dreams

Magazine article Newsweek

The Ancient Art of Making Babies: It's Just Amazing What Some People Will Try to Get That Boy or Girl of Their Dreams

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Springen

For centuries, kings and queens tried myriad ways to increase the odds of giving birth to two boys--an heir and a spare. Even in these high-tech times, couples still use unproven, often wacky methods to try for the boy or girl of their dreams. It's easy to see why couples might fervently believe that a particular folk remedy is effective: they forget that even without messing with Mother Nature, they've got a 50-50 chance of getting their preferred gender. Whatever crazy thing they do, half the time it's going to work. A guide to some old wives' tales.

SEXUAL POSITION: For an X-bearing (girl) sperm to win the race to the egg, folk wisdom counsels that the woman should initiate sex, try the missionary position, achieve orgasm first and then sleep on her partner's left side. For a Y-bearing (boy) sperm to win, the man should enter from the rear, penetrate deeply at climax and achieve orgasm first. Alas, it's difficult to ever document efficacy--or lack of it. "How are you going to prove that he really did ejaculate deep in the vagina?" asks Dr. Sandra Carson, immediate past president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

DIET: For a girl, Mom should eat veggies, sweets and a high-calcium diet. For a boy, she'll want to try red meat and salty snacks. In "How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby," Dr. Landrum Shettles (who died last year) advises men who want sons to drink caffeinated coffee within a half hour before sex because it "may impart some extra speed to the male-producing sperm." Hmmm. "If you change your diet, nobody has proved that at the site of the egg that changes anything," says Carson. …

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