How to Conceive a Boy

Mar 02, 2022 | 2 minutes Read

Some couples are almost desperate to conceive a baby of a particular gender. While most couples are happy with either a boy or a girl baby so long as they are healthy and strong, some are interested in trying to sway the odds of having a boy if they can. Just remember that there are no guarantees and the odds of conceiving a boy or a girl are almost the same for each and every pregnancy.

No matter what claims are made by companies asserting their skills in predicting whether a boy or girl can be conceived, don’t be too trusting. A lot of time, money, trust, and energy can be wasted by couples who think they can consciously influence their baby’s gender. It’s worth remembering that the only scientifically proven strategy which can sway the odds—just slightly—is the timing of intercourse. Diet, lunar calendars, sexual positions and even the boy and girl patterns within families do not change the likelihood of gender determination.

Top tips for conceiving a boy

  • Time sex to coincide with the day of ovulation. That means no earlier than 24 hours before you are about to ovulate.
  • Deep penetrative sex is preferable.
  • It helps if the woman orgasms.
  • Have an energy drink, a cup of coffee, or some chocolate before having sex.
  • Get your partner to trade in the briefs for boxer shorts.
  • What’s fact and what’s a fallacy?

    • Men influence the gender of the baby, not women. Men provide the sperm which either has an X (girl) or Y (boy) sex chromosome.
    • There is no sure-fire guarantee of having a baby of a particular gender. Hoping and trying for a boy or girl is just that and does not influence the odds in either direction.
    • One testicle does not produce girl sperm and the other boy sperm. Both produce an equal number of X and Y sperm, and it is random chance, rather than management, that determines which one fertilizes the egg.
    • Some men do seem to produce better quality X or Y sperm which may account for the reason why particular families have large numbers of only girls or boys.
    • Herbal and complementary medicine remedies do not impact on the likelihood of having a girl or a boy. They tend to offer dubious claims that are not based on scientific fact and reason.

    Can’t I choose which sex my baby is?

    Gender selection can be done via fertility assistance. It often happens when there is a likelihood of the baby inheriting a sex-linked disorder. Genetic counseling is recommended as one part of an overall treatment regime. It is true that in some countries ‘designer babies’ are more common, with clinics freely advertising their success rates. Important issues including control over biology, the quality of the parent/child relationship, and expectations that may be placed on the ‘perfect’ child need to be thought about by parents very carefully in advance.

    Characteristics of girl sperm What this means to you
    They are identified as looking like an X. Some people remember the differences because they claim that the extra arm on the X indicates more strength.
    They are more resilient and live longer than Y sperm. This means they can still fertilize the egg 4 to 5 days after they have left the man’s body. You don’t need to be so particular about timing sex to coincide with ovulation. Female sperm can wait around for longer until the egg is ready to be fertilized.
    They require less ‘nurturing’ to find their way to the egg. You don’t need to do anything consciously to look after them, except abstaining from douching.
    They move slower than Y sperm but retain their energy. You don’t need to do anything in particular.

    Characteristics of boy sperm What this means to you
    They are identified as looking like a Y. Nothing, really. It's just an interesting point.
    They are not as resilient or strong as girl sperm. Interesting factoid, but nothing more.
    They have short bursts of power before they fizzle out in energy. This affects the timing of sex to coincide with ovulation; don’t expect them to hang around.
    They are not capable of fertilizing the egg 24 hours after they have left the man’s body. Timing sex to coincide with the day of ovulation may slightly help increase the odds of having a boy.
    They move at high speed towards the egg. Out of your control.

    Timing of intercourse

    The timing of when a couple has sex is thought to actually make a difference in helping to conceive with a boy. It is one of the strategies suggested in  the Shettles Method. It claims that the chances of having a boy are boosted when conception occurs as close to ovulation as possible. Boy or Y sperm are not as resilient as the X or female sperm. According to Dr. Landrum Shettles, it may help to provide a bit of additional support to help the Y sperm get to their destination and not have to compete any more than they absolutely must. Of course, this all depends on the willingness of a couple to track the woman’s ovulation and be available to each other over those crucial fertile hours.

    According to Shettles, if you want a boy then avoid having sex no earlier than 24 hours before you are about to ovulate and not 12 hours after you have ovulated. Shettles also advises that if couples want to conceive with a boy:
    • That deep penetrative sex is preferable. It helps deposit the semen and sperm closest to the woman’s cervix, so they are given the best opportunity to get to the egg in the fallopian tube. Twelve hours before ovulation is thought to maximize the chances of conceiving with a boy.
    • It also helps if the woman orgasms. This boosts the alkaline properties of the vagina which supports the sperm to do their work. Orgasm also causes uterine and vaginal contractions which help to push the sperm upwards towards where they need to go.

    How do I know when I’ve ovulated?

    • Many women develop a distinctive pain on one side of their lower pelvis that occurs mid-way through their monthly cycle.
    • You’ll see changes in the cervical mucus. Fertile mucus is clear, watery, and stretchy—it appears similar to egg white. This is because the cells change to encourage the smooth passage of sperm upwards through the cervix towards the fallopian tubes. Fertile mucus is also less acidic than non-fertile mucus. This environment favors the sperm rather than killing them off.
    • Try using an ovulation testing kit. These detect hormonal changes that occur during ovulation, particularly an increase in luteinizing hormone. There is still some disagreement over their effectiveness. Kits cost anywhere between $25 and $40. Ovulation testing kits that work by measuring hormonal levels in the saliva, rather than the urine, are supposed to be more exact.
    • You may feel different. Women who have ovulated and are at their most fertile often experience an increase in their libido; they also appear more attractive and are more relaxed.
    • You could have an increase in your basal body temperature. This is the lowest temperature that is reached by your body during rest and sleep. Just before ovulation occurs there is a rise in the temperature by a couple of degrees.

    General tips

    • Caffeine may help to give the Y sperm an additional boost. An energy drink, cup of coffee, or even some chocolate before having sex won’t do any harm.
    • Suggest your partner change his underpants preference if he’s into the tighter briefs. Boxer shorts may look less glamorous, but they don’t hug the testicles close to the body which can cause them to overheat. Overheating can reduce the number of sperm which are produced and in turn the likelihood of conceiving with a boy.

    It does seem that male sperm prefer an alkaline vaginal environment, which is where the correlation between diet and gender selection comes in. But whether eating a less acidic diet makes a difference is still open to debate. It probably does no harm. If you want to conceive a baby boy, then you may want to consider eating less of these types of foods:
    • Spicy foods which contain vinegar, citrus juices and fruits and tart or tangy flavors.
    • Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
    You may want to try eating:
    • More foods that contain potassium such as bananas, broccoli, potatoes, spinach, and Brussels sprouts.
    • Bread, avocado, almonds, sprouts, wheatgrass, pine nuts, and cherries.
    • Some researchers believe that taking a daily supplement of Evening Primrose Oil boosts the chances of conceiving a boy.

    The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at