The Method That Has Stood The Test of Time and Is Best Supported By The Scientific Evidence
Is It Possible? Is It Moral? 1
Nearly 40 Years of Success! 3
Can We Really Choose the Sex of Our Children? Yes! 7
Is It Moral? Should We Do It? Will the World Be Overrun
Letters from Nome and Our Results to Date 24
The Emergence of a Scientific Sex-Selection Method 45
Hundreds of Years of Trial and Error (Mostly Error) 47
The “Facts of Life” Revisited (What You Must Know
Before You Attempt Sex Selection) 57
The Shettles Method - How It Developed and
Has Been Refined 66
How Much Scientific Support Is There for the
Shettles Method? 75
Other Sex-Selection Methods: How Do They Compare? 90
How to Use the Shettles Method Successfully 117
First Order of Business: How to Determine the Time
of Ovulation 119
Trying for the Boy—What to Do 150x | Contents
Trying for the Girl—What to Do 166
Questions and Answers 176
Sex Selection in the Near and Distant Future 193
The IOO Most Popular Boy and Girl Names
(And Some Alternatives) 202
Write to Us! 209
Reader Questionnaire 211
Dear Dr. Shettles:
"We want to thank you for our daughter, but, more than that, we want to thank you for having a healthy baby. We believe that your method enabled us not only to have the daughter we wanted but to get pregnant in the first place. After two miscarriages and no successful past pregnancies, I had about given up until I came across your book. Both my husband and I found it easy to understand and follow and very sensible."
Mrs. L.V., Amman, Jordan
Fifty years! We find it hard to believe ourselves. For nearly five decades now, prospective parents from Biloxi to Bombay, Chicago to Cape Town, Seattle to Shanghai have been using our method to choose the sex of their children. Millions of people throughout the world have used the Shettles method with consistent good results, making us the past, the present, and, we trust, the future number-one guide to sex selection on the planet.
During those five decades, we have faced plenty of competition and quite a few “imitators” of our method. But as the competition has come and gone, the Shettles method has persisted, fueled primarily by satisfied word of mouth. Were it not for couples who have used our method with success and reported this to their friends and neighbors, we, too, would long since have fallen by the wayside. Failure doesn’t keep anything going for years, let alone 40 years. Only success can do that. And so, to you, our faithful readers, some of whom have used our method to attain not merely one child of the desired sex but two or more, often creating gender-balanced families in the process, we express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.
And to those of you completely new to our book and our method, we say Welcome. We are delighted to add you to our ever-growing “family” and trust that you, too, will add to your families the children you will cherish, whatever their genders.
Since we last revised this book, some other sex-selection methods have come along, both low tech and high tech. We will be talking more about these later on. But, as usual, we have noted that when something “new” is announced in this field, it is often really just a restatement or a variation on components of the Shettles method.
By the same token, findings that sometimes claim to refute the Shettles method generally fail when they are more closely scrutinized or more thoroughly followed up over longer periods of time. We will provide examples of this later on. We will also tell you about some high-tech methods of sex selection, both old and newly emerging ones, that, unlike the Shettles method, are generally opposed by bioethicists and by the majority of doctors and medical professionals, for reasons we will discuss. We are confident that most couples will continue to find our approach to sex selection the easiest, the most natural, and the most reliable, as well as the most ethical.
This is the sixth revision of our book since it was first published in April 1970. It contains all of the latest sex-selection data. Our method has been consistently effective and consistently refined over the years to make it easier and more comfortable for all to use. Our success rate continues to be 75 percent or better for those seeking girls and 80 percent for those who seek boys. And the rate of success is even higher among those who have reported to us on our questionnaires (see later in this book) that they were “highly confident” that they had precisely pinpointed the time of ovulation—a key factor in the Shettles method.
In the pages ahead, you’ll hear from a number of those who have tried the method—and we’ll be answering questions many of you have sent us since our last edition appeared several years ago.
Again, congratulations for joining the sex-selection team that has been getting results in more than twenty countries for fifty years. At a national meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Shettles was credited with having published “the landmark paper,” in the early 1960s, which made sex preselection a subject that could and should be taken seriously. By having made the decision to investigate and, we hope, use sex selection yourself, you have become part of a landmark effort that we believe will continue to flourish.
If you’ve read The History of Sex Selection at this site, you know that for centuries couples seeking to influence gender outcomes had to rely on superstition, at worst, and flawed science, at best, with universally dismal results. It wasn’t until well into the 20th Century that scientists had the tools necessary to study the genesis and actions of the male and female “sex cells” (male sperm and female ova) and begin to find scientifically sound methods of influencing their behavior.
At the beginning of his career as a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Shettles was frequently asked by patients who were prospective parents if there was anything they could do to tip the balance in favor of begetting offspring of the desired gender. It disheartened him to have to tell them that science had nothing to offer in this regard. But their persistent questions did not go unheeded, and Dr. Shettles soon began devoting more of his time trying to find a positive answer.
He was among those who had helped establish that there are two types of sperm, androsperm (male-producing sperm) and gynosperm (female-producing sperm), incidentally putting to rest for good that it was the female partner who determined gender. Dr. Shettles intensified his microscopic study of living sperm in physiological fluids that mimicked the fluids that are found, under varying circumstances, in the cervical canal and fallopian tubes. Over time, he observed various differences in the behavior and durability of the two types of sperm. In some environments, it emerged, the somewhat larger, hardier female-producing sperm could survive longer and stood a better chance of fertilizing the egg cell in a process that combined male and female chromosomal characteristics and created an embryo. On the flip side of this discovery, he also observed that the smaller male producing sperm were more agile and speedier, allowing them, under the right conditions, to get to the egg first and achieve fertilization with a male-offspring outcome.
These literally seminal discoveries formed the foundation of the Shettles Sex Selection method. It became clear to Dr. Shettles that both timing of intercourse and manipulation of the status of intra-vaginal, intra-fallopian tube environments could achieve what so many of his patients wanted—a tipping of the balance in favor of one gender or the other. Here, at last, was a truly scientific approach to the long-sought after sex selection quest. In due course, Dr. Shettles published his breakthrough findings in the prestigious international scientific journal Natur. These findings were, in turn, reported upon in The New York Times and many other publications worldwide.
Many more publications related to this work followed, and some other researchers confirmed various aspects of the research. All of these studies are discussed in detail in Dr. Shettles’s subsequent book, How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby: The Method Best Supported by Scientific Evidence. The methodology for significantly increasing chances of achieving the desired gender is also spelled out in detail in this book. The method’s success, apart from independent scientific validation, is attested to by the fact that the book has now been in continuous press for five decades—a full 50 years! That doesn’t happen without a satisfied audience and strong word of mouth recommendations year after year. The percentage of non-reference books that stay in print 50 years is minuscule. The book has been discussed on major television talk shows for decades and featured on the covers and in the pages of major women’s magazines.
These days, the book is sold primarily online, particularly through Amazon.com, where you can find scores of testimonials from mostly satisfied — and occasionally dissatisfied — prospective parents. Dr. Shettles never claimed that the Method has a 100 per cent success rate, but his own studies and a survey of those using the Method over a period of decades indicate that the success rate, when the Method is properly followed, exceeds 70 per cent and can approach 90 per cent.
Some continue to dispute the validity of the Method but do not produce credible evidence in support of that dispute. Dr. Shettles, in his long career, was often well ahead of his time. His discoveries and findings in other areas of study were also sometimes questioned by those perhaps startled that he had arrived at mutually sought.
Though the Shettles method remains “theory” and is disputed by some, you should be aware that Dr. Shettles has a formidable record for being both ahead of his time and right. He and Dr. John Rock of Harvard were the first to fertilize human eggs in vitro, launching what is today a revolution in fertility research. But it took literally decades for other researchers to follow up on their pioneering work. In the 1960s, Dr. Shettles discovered a method of obtaining fetal cells that could be used to assess fetal health and rescue distressed pregnancies, detect defects, and so on. Other researchers said they could not duplicate his research or simply ignored it—despite its enormous implications. Finally, researchers in mainland China reported they had duplicated the work, and this was then followed up on by researchers in Indiana, who finally realized the full import of the development and credited Dr. Shettles with its discovery.
Today this technique (called chorionic villi sampling) has partially supplanted the more dangerous amniocentesis as a method of monitoring fetal health—and, unlike amniocentesis, it can be used from the very earliest stages of pregnancy with minimal invasion.
Then, in 1979, Dr. Shettles reported on another technique he had developed by which a fertilized egg could be surgically transferred directly into a woman’s fallopian tube to achieve pregnancies that could otherwise not occur, owing to various infertility problems. At first, this technique, which has come to be known as gamete intrafallopian transfer, or GIFT—and it truly is a gift to many of the infertile—also was ignored and no credit was given. But GIFT rapidly became one of the crown jewels in the armamentarium of infertility research and treatment and is today regarded as one of the most important developments in that field in the twentieth century.
Finally, in 1991, in an editorial in the Journal of in Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer, Dr. Shettles was given long-overdue credit and hailed as the father of GIFT. The editorial concluded: In the case of GIFT a scan of the medical literature of the past 15 years clearly shows that L. B. Shettles should be credited with the introduction of the concept of transferring gametes into the fallopian tubes as a means of achieving a pregnancy. Frederick P. Zuspan, editor of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in his letter to Shettles notifying him of the acceptance for publication of his landmark paper, stated the need for its publication “as soon as possible as it opens new avenues for therapy.”
Dr. Shettles, who was once described by Omni magazine as “one of the twentieth century’s titans in the field of female infertility,” is delighted that he’s still challenging orthodoxy right into the twenty-first century.