Discovering the sex of your baby can be one of the most exciting parts of your pregnancy. But what if someone said you could determine your baby’s sex when you’re trying to conceive?
Kathryn Taylor, author of The Babydust Method: A Guide to Conceiving a Girl or a Boy, has suggested that the timing and frequency of intercourse in relation to ovulation can be used as a sex selection method.
[There is no blah blah] To find out more, Newsweek has spoken to Taylor, fertility and gynecology experts, and parents who have tried the method.
What Is the Babydust Method?
Taylor told Newsweek that the Babydust method relies on factors that may affect whether an X chromosome or Y chromosome sperm fertilizes an egg. The three key components are timing, frequency and, most importantly, monitoring your luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, she added.
“I was my own first test subject,” Taylor said. “I had a son first and a daughter second, just as I had planned. Then I tested it on family and friends and was nearly 100% successful.”
Taylor recommends that women monitor their LH levels using basic test strips at least twice a day—ideally once in the morning and once in the evening—for three menstrual cycles before they try to conceive. At major online retailers, a pack of 100 basic LH test strips costs around $35.
She said taking these tests would help determine when your LH levels are surging, which typically occurs approximately 24 hours prior to ovulation. By testing from the fifth day of your cycle until you record a “positive” LH surge for three consecutive months, you will have a better chance of predicting your next ovulation.
The Babydust method, having sexual intercourse once two-to-three days prior to ovulation will likely result in conceiving a baby girl. Alternatively, having sex twice – once on the day of your ovulation and the second time approximately 24 hours after – will likely result in a baby boy.
The difference between frequency is based on studies that Taylor references in the book that revealed that “two acts of intercourse 24 hours apart will alter the uterine environment in favor of Y sperm.”
How effective is the Babydust method?
According to Taylor, based on the reported “sways” shared by real couples, “the success rate has been consistently at 87% for both girl and boy sways over the past 5 years.”
“Every result that is reported is evaluated to make sure the couple followed the method perfectly,” she reassured .
Taylor believes that “some couples have said that this method has actually helped them conceive faster.” She explained that by regularly monitoring their LH levels, couples are aware of the woman’s most fertile days, which helps them time intercourse accordingly and “focus their efforts on the right days.”
With that in mind, Taylor emphasized that “this method is not a guarantee,” advising couples “to go into this with a positive attitude.” “If they keep in mind that the Babydust method is a way to increase your chances, then it lessens the possible disappointment,” she suggested.
Experts on the Babydust method
Antoine Abu Musa, chief medical officer at online IVF clinic NOW-fertility, shared that although the timing and frequency of intercourse have been widely considered as key factors of sex selection, “there is no scientific objective evidence that it works.”
Interestingly, Abu Musa suggested that maternal hormonal levels on the day of fertilization can play a role in determining the sex of the embryo. “More females at birth have been associated with various forms of stressful events and circumstances during or prior to pregnancy,” he told Newsweek. “Unfortunately, the research in this field is limited and sometimes contradictory,” he added.
Abu Masa also believes that ovulation days differ each month and that monitoring ovulation for three months before applying the Babydust method might not be helpful in predicting your future ovulation. He also shared that even after tracking LH levels for three cycles, timing and limiting the intercourse to a certain day of the cycle “might lead to missing the window of fertilization” altogether.
According to Abu Masa, the only reliable and accurate method of sex selection is the PGT-A, a genetic test performed on embryos fertilized through invitro fertilization (IVF). Dr. Zev Williams of Columbia University Fertility Center suggested that this approach has a 99 percent chance of conceiving a baby of a desired sex. However, it comes with a steep price – according to AdvancedFertility, the average cost of one IVF round with a PGT test costs approximately $15,500.
According to U.K. law, however, testing an embryo for the purposes of sex selection was made illegal by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. As such, the only legal way parents can use a PGT-A test and IVF to select the sex of a baby in the U.K. is by proving that there are significant genetic anomalies associated with the parents having a child of a certain sex.
Dr Evangelia Elenis, chief medical advisor at Tilly and chief physician in obstetrics and gynecology, believes that “the reasoning behind the [Babydust] method makes sense from a theoretical perspective, but not in a practical reality.”
“As far as I know, there is no conclusive scientific proof for the Babydust method,” she told Newsweek.
Elenis encourages couples to remember that menstrual cycles “are not perfectly regular and calculating averages may not work.” Still, she explains that tracking LH levels and predicting ovulation can certainly help in conceiving. However, Elenis warns that so far, “there is no scientific proof that you can control whether a sperm that carries an X or a Y chromosome will fertilize the egg.”
Moms on the baby dust method
Newsweek also spoke to a few members of The Babydust Method Facebook group about their experiences regarding whether or not they were successful and how long and strictly they followed the method.
Earlier this year, Kayla George welcomed a baby boy as a result of a “successful sway” based on the Babydust Method. “We are so thankful for this method,” the mother shared.
She described that the “method looked to be the most reliable and cost efficient” compared to other sex selection techniques and methods commonly discussed on the internet. George shared that she and her partner followed the instructions attentively and that it took her two cycles to get a positive test result. As per Taylor’s guidance, George tracked her LH levels twice a day for three months prior to trying to conceive.
“We have five wonderful daughters, and we were just hoping to be lucky enough to add a little boy to our family. If we didn’t fall pregnant, or if it was another little girl we would have been okay,” she shared.
Meanwhile, one woman shared her experience of a “boy sway fail,” which happened despite her strictly following all the instructions, tracking her LH levels and even consulting with the author of the book.
Liana Averbeck is currently 18 weeks pregnant with twin girls, after having tried for three months to conceive a baby boy using the Babydust method.
“All details were discussed with the author and she deemed the sway a perfect boy sway,” she shared.
According to Averbeck, she even tracked her body basal temperature (BBT) so as to ensure an accurate prediction of her ovulation in addition to charting her LH levels twice a day.
Regardless, although at first she felt “a little bit of a loss and sadness for not getting one boy,” the woman has no regrets: “Using this method, I felt I was learning more about my body and was more confident in conceiving,” she told Newsweek. Now, Averbeck described that she feels “blessed” to be pregnant with her baby girl twins.
The woman suspected that the genetics on her husband’s side might have played a role as she shared that he “mostly has girls on both sides of the family.”
Averbeck also said that she discourages the method “if you cannot bear a ‘gender sway fail’ and would not want another baby of the same gender.”