Mayo Clinic Health Library Article

 Back to Health Library
Baby''s sex: Can parents choose?

Baby''s sex: Can parents choose?

Baby''s sex — A Mayo Clinic specialist explains the science behind influencing a baby''s sex.

QIs there any way to influence a baby''s sex?


AAnswer Section

The short answer is no — there''s not much the average couple can do to affect a baby''s sex.

While countless old wives'' tales suggest that everything from a woman''s diet to sexual position during conception can affect a baby''s sex, these theories remain unproved. Likewise, researchers have found that timing sex in relation to ovulation — such as having sex days before ovulation to conceive a boy or closer to ovulation to conceive a girl — doesn''t work.

Rarely, couples face the agonizing problem of knowing they could pass a genetic trait to a child of a specific sex — usually a boy. Under those special circumstances couples might use high-tech interventions to influence the chance of conceiving a girl. For example:

  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis. With this technique — which is used in combination with in vitro fertilization — embryos are tested for specific genetic conditions and sex before they''re placed in a woman''s uterus.
  • Sperm sorting. Various sperm-sorting techniques — which require artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization — can be used to reduce the likelihood of passing on a genetic condition, as well as select a child''s sex.

Despite the feasibility of these techniques, they''re rarely used when choosing a baby''s sex for personal reasons is the only motivation.


Find a physician

or Need Help Finding a Physician

Upcoming Events

Cancer Treatment Support Group
Mon, Jan 21, 2019 - 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM More
Body Awareness
Mon, Jan 21, 2019 - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM More
All About Labor
Mon, Jan 21, 2019 - 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM More
View all Events >>