Have you ever heard of the influence of diet on the sex of your future baby? Is it a legend, an impossible fantasy, or a scientifically proven truth? What is the principle, and what other methods exist? We will try to answer all your questions on the subject in this article.
1. Grandma's methods
Having always preferred to have a little girl, I always asked myself this question: is there a way to influence the sex of your child ? Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but unfortunately I still don't have the answer to this question, even after reading multiple articles and studies on this subject. We are all free to believe in what we want, and I have decided to believe it. Here are all the elements I have so that you can form your own opinion. ;)
Who has not already wanted to decide in advance the sex of their future child?
For centuries, many have tried to find an infallible method to achieve this. The influence of the sex of the baby could, according to these methods, be played on food, on the moment of conception, and even according to the position during sexual relations. Today, different methods can be used to select the sex of future babies, including that of sorting sperm in the form of diet. This is the method we will mainly talk about in this article.
The first question that comes to me is that I have always heard that the sex of a child is determined by the father. So why would a mother's diet influence all of this? Back to SVT court ( life and earth sciences)! ;)
Indeed, according to Paul Bischof, Professor in the Hormonology laboratory, “ the sex of a child is determined at the chromosomal level, and this, at fertilization. In other words, at the meeting of a sperm coming from the father and an ovum coming from the mother. Each of these reproductive cells contains 23 chromosomes, respectively carrying the genetic heritage of the father and that of the mother. Of these 23 chromosomes, one of them determines the sex. In sperm, this sex chromosome can be either X (female) or Y (male). The ovum only contains X chromosomes. It is therefore the sperm that decides the sex of the future child. If the pairing of chromosomes results in XX, we will have a daughter. If we get an XY, a boy will be born.”
But these diets interfere with the mother's genital tract: the mother's specific diet beforehand influences the sorting of spermatozoa, carrying either the X chromosome or the Y chromosome. This is in fact a technique which is based on vaginal acidity and the ovulation cycle. According to studies, male spermatozoa are faster, and female spermatozoa more resistant. If you want to have a girl, the method recommends following a diet favoring the acidity of the vagina, because the female spermatozoa will tolerate it better. It is also recommended to conceive your baby two to three days before ovulation, and for a boy, to get started precisely on the day of ovulation.
The Stolkowsky method , developed by the doctor of the same name, applies to modify the pH of vaginal secretions. In France, a diet, developed by Dr. François Papa, gynecologist at the Port-Royal maternity ward, announces results of approximately 80% success, and as indicated earlier, the acidity of the vaginal environment seems to play a role in the selection of spermatozoa, which reach the oocyte.
Overall, it is recommended to salt the dishes "to the maximum" to obtain a boy and to cook everything without salt, to produce a girl. Mineral supplements are also prescribed in order to fill the deficiencies (calcium, potassium or magnesium ) which could result from the follow-up of this method. This strict diet must be followed for at least four months before fertilization. And since we don't always know when this will happen, this diet can sometimes last a year!
- The diet to have a boy
First of all: it is important and necessary to consult a doctor before starting such a diet. Indeed, it is very complex to follow, but can also be dangerous for health and lead to deficiencies. In the new version of his method " Choose the sex of your child " ( JC Lattès editions, February 2011 ), Dr. Papa warns future mothers: "The diet must be strictly followed, without deviation and under medical supervision. This involves many constraints: the diet must be started at least two and a half months before conception - with a contraceptive method other than the pill". And you have to follow this diet for the duration of the baby trials, i.e. several months, even a year... So much time to dissect the contents of your plates!
Here is, as an indication, the list of foods recommended by Dr Dad during baby trials to increase his chances of having a boy:
Without moderation: tea, all fruit juices, carbonated mineral water rich in sodium (such as Vichy), all meat and fish, cold cuts, all fruit (but in particular bananas, dates, apricots , oranges, peaches, cherries, chestnuts, prunes, dried apricots and dried figs), certain vegetables (potatoes, mushrooms, artichokes, dried white beans, lentils, leeks , carrots, onions), and to delight gourmets, dark chocolate, sweets, desserts and cakes without milk.
In moderation: coffee, sodas, alcohol, white rice and pasta, goat cheese.
Here, for information, are the foods to avoid (or even banish) during baby trials to have a better chance of having a boy:
Milk (in all its forms), mineral water except Vichy water, shellfish and crustaceans, eggs as a main course, wholemeal or unsalted bread, wholegrain rice, milk or cream pastries, pancakes, dried fruits (walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds), all green salads (except lamb's lettuce), raw cabbage, spinach, mustard, walnuts...
- The diet for having a girl
These changes must be made well before the fertilization of the ovum, so that the metabolism of the future mother assimilates them and undergoes modifications which will make her more sensitive to spermatozoa X, carrier of the female gene.
Here is, as an indication, the list of foods recommended by Dr. Dad during baby trials to increase his chances of having a girl:
Without moderation: dairy products (cottage cheese, petit-suisse), calcium mineral water, cabbage, apple and grape-based drinks, molluscs, rice, pasta, egg, green vegetables, oils plants, bread without salt and pastries without salt or yeast, sugar, honey, jam, fresh, frozen or in syrup red fruits. Butter, always without salt, and fresh cream.
In moderation: 130g of meat or unsalted fish maximum per day, bananas, fruit juice, alcohol, cheese, sodas.
Here, for information, are the foods to avoid (or even banish) during baby trials to have a better chance of having a girl:
Automatically, the foods to avoid are (salty) bread, corn, cold cuts, zucchini and endives, goat cheese, salt in all its forms, dried fruit, sweets, and all the foods that are recommended. to maximize her chances of having a boy.
For Dr Chadi Yazbeck, obstetrician-gynecologist and specialist in medically assisted procreation (PMA) at the Foch hospital, "as long as it is mainly a matter of food rebalancing - without deficiencies -, it has no negative medical implications, so I see no contraindication. On the other hand, to those who would be tempted to go and modify the pH at the source, for example by putting lemon in their vagina, it is absolutely not to be done, at the risk of disturbing the balance of the vaginal microbiota, of contracting infection or yeast infection.
2. The beginnings of hypotheses, where does this come from?
Indeed, this method is not revolutionary. It was born in the 1970s, although no scientist has ever validated it. It is the American biologist Landrum Shettles, author of How to choose the sex of your baby , which claimed in the 1960s that male sperm are faster and female sperm are more resistant. But in 1995, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that the moment of conception has no influence on the sex of the embryo. Tracking the ovulation cycle to determine sex would therefore not be a reliable method. In 2001, the American Society of Andrology is also interested in the differences between spermatozoa. It highlights that there are no morphological differences between the male and female chromosomes. “ Male and female spermatozoa are not exactly similar, but we cannot identify them with the naked eye today, we need a genetic analysis ”, explains Michaël Grynberg, head of the reproductive medicine department at the Antoine Béclère hospital in Clamart.
Then, retrospective studies on women who had several children of the same sex were carried out. All these women were questioned and thus classified according to their sodium/potassium to calcium/magnesium ratio. Women in category 1 have a ratio above 5. Those in category 2 have a ratio below 2.8. In category 3 are all women with a relationship between these two parameters.
The anonymity of the study is then removed to find that among the women who had a rather boyish diet (ratio greater than 5), 90% were mothers of boys. The same results were obtained with the daughter diet. These women had dietary habits that unknowingly influenced the sex of their children.
At the Cochin hospital in Paris, at the end of the 1970s, Doctor Papa tested a diet on 300 volunteer women that was supposed to determine the sex of their child. Result: more than 80% of women who pass the test obtain a child of the desired sex. But there is no evidence to show that this percentage is necessarily linked to diet, or that vaginal acidity has any real effect on sperm selection. “ The conditions of the vagina are related to diet. But it's a shortcut to go from acidity to sperm selection ”, adds the gynecologist who considers the method as “ a pipe. […] I can't believe that we guarantee that at 90%. based on such scientific weakness .”
Many methods have already been popularized to orient the sex of the child. Long before Doctor Papa's diet, some claim that pinching this or that testicle had an influence, while others claimed that the sexual position was decisive. But as Professor Grynberg reminds us, " There are no reliable natural methods today for predicting the sex of a child ."
Apps have emerged
Some applications have made this technique their business. My Blubelly, for example, is personalized coaching to follow this diet and thus conceive a baby of the sex of your choice. They provide diet guidance and personalized coaching for $149 per month. Thanks to an application, you have access to advice, articles, nutritional monitoring, and you also receive a box containing food supplements, ovulation and pH tests. Then, the process to “ no longer leave things to chance”, takes place in two stages: first, a nutritional diet for about three months, then monitoring of the ovarian cycle. Health professionals (gynecologists, sexologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, psychologists, and naturopaths) make up the application team. If no results have been demonstrated, the method is therefore based on its own results, and justifies its 90% success by combining the two techniques, but above all by coaching. “We must keep in mind that we are talking about a natural method here, we cannot expect 100% reliability from it, recalls Dr. Bied-Damon.
3. Almost 100% reliable methods
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
Preimplantation diagnosis makes it possible to detect the presence of any genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in embryos conceived after in vitro fertilization. The goal is to differentiate embryos affected by a genetic disease from those that are healthy or unharmed carriers. In the context of in vitro fertilization , cells can be taken from the embryos and analyzed to obtain various genetic data, including the sex of the embryos. Thereafter, only the embryos corresponding to the desired sex will be implanted in the mother's uterus. Unwanted embryos will be destroyed.
The intervention is pre-conception: all you have to do is use a machine that will sort the spermatozoa of Mr. by separating the masculine Y and the feminine X. Then, the chosen ones of the parents will sail merrily in the womb of the mother until her ovum . In France, currently and only in this case, parents who risk transmitting a serious hereditary disease linked precisely to the sex of the child, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy or hemophilia, also have the possibility of choosing the sex of the child. It will then be possible to select only healthy embryos. A pre-diagnosis must be carried out before implantation of the embryo in the uterus. Doctors then only choose the chromosomes from an embryo that does not carry the gene. Therefore, they also choose the sex of the child to avoid transmission.
But choosing the sex of the baby for pure convenience is prohibited in France and more widely in all countries of the European Union. On the other hand, "sexing" is authorized in the United States. This practice is also common in Asia, especially in China, India, Pakistan or even Afghanistan, although it is illegal. Indeed, these methods can excessively cause a shortage of women (imbalance of the sex ratio in favor of men in certain countries). In these countries, the birth of a girl is often considered as a burden because she leaves her family at her marriage to enrich another household. This cost is sometimes compounded by the payment of a dowry at the time of marriage by the woman's family. Conversely, a boy provides continuity of home and income. To avoid these inconveniences, couples then choose to have boys rather than girls. This choice can take the form of an abortion if the sex of the fetus can be determined, infanticide at birth, or the neglect of girls for the benefit of boys.
What is selective abortion?
It is a voluntary abortion motivated by one or more characteristics of the unborn child, considered undesirable, such as its sex . To diagnose the sex of an embryo or a fetus, there is classic ultrasound , blood sampling, amniocentesis, and biopsy of the placenta.
These last three methods, if they can be applied at the beginning of pregnancy, are expensive and complex, which limits their use in this context. Ultrasound, which takes place around the fourth month of pregnancy, is the most common technique for detecting the sex of a fetus. When this is revealed, one can choose to resort to a late abortion. Selective abortion is a controversial practice, which attempts are being made to limit in several countries.
In Asia, the proportion of boys began to increase in the early 1980s. There was then a return to normal, except in China, where the sex ratio would have continued to increase up to 120 boys for 100 girls. In this country, the rate of sex-selective abortions has accelerated considerably because of the implementation of the one-child policy. In 40 years, between 1971 and 2010, 330 million abortions were performed.
We were already aware of this trend in these Asian countries, but much less in Europe, even if the phenomenon had already been decried ten years earlier.
Which countries are affected by sex-selective abortion in Europe?
These are, in particular, Albania, Kosovo, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but also, even if it is less obvious, Montenegro and Western Macedonia. Their sex ratio is between 110 and 117. These are sparsely populated countries. In all, their population reaches 23 million. The diasporas of Asian origin are also affected, in England for example, where the sex ratio among populations of Indian origin is 113 boys for 100 girls.
As for the selection of the sex of the future baby by the in vitro fertilization with preimplantation genetic diagnosis, groups like the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the religious sector, bioethicists and many doctors (who dispute the concept of “playing God”) oppose it. The procedure is even banned in countries like Canada, China, India, Australia, and the United Kingdom for ethical reasons. In fact, the United States is one of the few countries where sex selection for non-medical purposes is legal — and there's even a new industry called "reproductive tourism," in which couples or people of all over the world (Italy, Thailand, Mexico, etc.) travel to the United States to choose the sex of their child.
Is it ethical?
To those who point to the risk of ethical drift, Sandra Ifrah replies that the method only uses natural tools, that it is simply a question of optimizing one's chances of achieving one's wishes. “We are not in the genetic manipulation, nor in the field of the "sexing" of the embryo, which is an unethical drift and which is not authorized in France, recalls Dr. Bied- Damon .
If the use of sex selection techniques for medical reasons is understandable, even commendable, the fact remains that the generalization of these processes could have potentially serious consequences for societies. As explained earlier, the birth of a boy is much more valued than that of a girl in several countries of the world, whether for financial or religious reasons. In the event that sex selection becomes widespread, we could witness a dramatic drop in the number of female babies in these countries, which would painfully affect the balance of society.
Moreover, sex selection for non-medical purposes would risk opening the door to other abuses. Eventually, perhaps it would become possible to choose a large number of genetic characteristics and thus create tailor-made, improved children.
Science could therefore allow us to create generations of supermen. However, if this idea may seem attractive in certain aspects, it remains very dangerous and against nature. This is why many researchers working in the medical field choose to remain cautious on this issue and argue in favor of a framework for assisted procreation practices rather than their liberalization.
Obviously, I think we all agree that the health of the baby is paramount, regardless of gender. Find below a short video that summarizes this article. Also, do not hesitate to consult our article on the right diet for your baby, your family and yourself. ❤️
https://www.canalvie.com/famille/grossesse/articles-grossesse/choisir-sexe-enfant-1.974226 https://www.livinghealthy.com/articles/more-people-are-choosing-the-sex-of -their-babies-but-is-it-ethical