Getting Pregnant - Conception - Shettles Method Getting Pregnant - Conception - Shettles Method

Shettles method

Shettles landmark book – How to Choose the Sex of your Baby is still in print and was revised in 2006. Although its claims sound pretty far-fetched, the latest edition includes testimonials from delighted couples who found that his techniques worked for them. 

How does the Shettles Method work?

Dr. Shettles (who developed this method) believed that X and Y sperm contain different characteristics. Dependent on the timing and frequency of sex, couples can influence whether they conceive a boy or a girl. Shettles also believed that the vaginal environment and pH can be a major contributing factor, and that having sex at particular times in a woman’s cycle can determine their likelihood of conceiving a boy or a girl. 

There may be some truth in what Shettles claims, because there is evidence that more girls are conceived right at the time of ovulation. 

Where did the Shettles Method come from?

Dr. Landrum B. Shettles was an American biologist who invented his method way back in the 1960s. He was involved in the early stages of develping In Vitro Fertilisation. It’s worth remembering that this was a time when contraceptive options were not as advanced as they are today and choices were very limited. Any control over fertility, conception and gender selection was seen as an improvement on what had been until then, a bit of a hit and miss. 

So when Shettles’ method evolved, it quickly developed a loyal following. After all, couples now believed they had more than a 50% chance of getting the baby they wanted. In anyone’s language, the odds were not too bad. This, combined with the all-important factor of the Shettles Method being free, convinced couples to feel they had nothing to lose by trying it out. 

To be fair, the Shettles Method didn’t and still doesn’t offer any iron-clad guarantee that one or either sex will be conceived. 

But is it true?

The Shettles Method is not based on hard scientific evidence. The only absolute fact when it comes to gender selection is that, statistically, every couple has an almost equal (50%) chance of conceiving a boy or girl baby with every pregnancy. 

It is always the father who determines what sex the baby will be. This is because, although babies inherit sex-linked chromosomes from both their parents, the mother will always provide an X (female) and the father either an X or a Y (male). 

If one of his sperm with an X sex chromosome matches with the woman’s X linked egg then the resulting XX will make a girl, and if one of his Y sperm matches with her X linked egg then a boy is conceived. 

What is the difference between the boy and girl sperm?

Y or boy sperm:

  • Swim faster and are able to get to the egg more quickly than the X (female) sperm.

  • Tend to be smaller.

  • Are less resilient and less hardy, i.e. they are just more fragile than the X sperm.

  • Do not live for as long as the female sperm; they have a shorter life expectancy and die off much earlier.

  • Are more resistant to alkaline, i.e. higher pH, environments. At different times of a woman’s menstrual cycle, the pH of her vagina varies. Y sperm cannot tolerate the acidic environment of the vagina as well as the X sperm do. 

X or female sperm:

  • Do not swim as fast as Y sperm; they are generally slower moving and less mobile.

  • Are bigger than Y sperm.

  • Have a longer life span, and are capable of fertilising an egg for a longer period, than Y sperm.

  • Prefer a lower vaginal pH (acidic) environment. 

What’s interesting?

Couples who already have two of the same gender children are around 75% more likely to have the same gender baby again. It just seems that some men produce more X or more Y sperm. We all know families where couples only seem to have the “recipe” to make girls or boys and there may not have been a boy, or a girl born for generations. 

Shettles Method to have a boy

  • Aim to have sex when you are most fertile. Keep a basal body temperature chart and record your fertile days. When you have ovulated or are about to, then have sex. This is because Y sperm swim faster and can’t hang around for as long.

  • Avoid having sex until just before you ovulate. Wait until you are most fertile.

  • Be creative with your sexual positions. Deep penetration is thought to help because this helps the sperm to be deposited as close to the cervix as possible.

  • Simultaneous orgasm also helps the Y sperm to get to where they need to go.

  • Have a cup of coffee and share some chocolate before you have sex. The caffeine in these helps to propel the Y sperm and make them more active. 

Shettles Method to have a girl

  • Aim to have a lot of sex before you ovulate. Track your ovulation cycles and mucus changes, so you know when ovulation is close.

  • Shallow sexual positions may help.

  • The more frequently a man ejaculates, the less his numbers of Y sperm. So the frequency of his orgasms is important if you want a girl baby.

  • Women need to hold back on having an orgasm. These help to initiate pelvic contractions which assist those Y sperm in their venture to the egg. 

Benefits of the Shettles Method

  • It’s very cost effective. Even if you have to buy Shettles’ book. 

  • It helps couples to bond and make them feel they are both contributing.

  • The Shettles Method boosts body awareness and understanding of fertility.

  • There are no side effects of damage to the body from using this method.

  • It is seen as a “natural” way of increasing the odds of gender selection. 


  • It is more difficult to conceive a girl than a boy. Reducing the frequency of sex in turn reduces the likelihood of any conception.

  • The Shettles Method takes time, thought and a little self-restraint. Each person in the relationship needs to work together.

  • There is a potential for disappointment if the baby is not the preferred gender. Couples need to be very clear before trying the Shettles Method that it is not a guarantee and parents need to want a baby, rather than only one of a particular gender.