THE HISTORY OF O+12
Once upon a time, in Australia, there lived a woman named Kynzi. She conceived SIX sons in a row, all but the first trying to conceive a daughter using the Shettles method of 2-3 day cutoff for girl, BD right before or at O for boys (the first was just for fun!!) In addition, with sons 4,5, and 6, Kynzi did the French Girl Diet, took calcium supplements, and used vinegar douches. At one of her many ultrasounds, she started chatting with a nurse who told her that in her (the nurse’s) experience, Shettles had a LESS THAN 50-50 success rate. Meaning, not only was Shettles not right, he actually had it backwards.
Kynzi and the nurse did a little investigating. During the 70’s and 80’s, since Shettles was a highly popular method of gender selection, numerous studies were done to find out if it actually worked. One of these studies, officially named “ A Prospective Study of the Preselection of the Sex of Offspring by timing Intercourse Relative to Ovulation“, commonly referred to as the “New Zealand Study”, actually seemed to prove the opposite of what Shettles claimed, that more girls were conceived the day after ovulation!
The New Zealand Study was published in the journal, Fertility and Sterility in 1984. In that study, couples were instructed to track ovulation and to time intercourse using the Shettles theory.
The couples included in the study (it started off with 185 couples) were instructed by an accredited teacher in the Natural Family Planning method of tracking ovulation using cervical mucus and position, and temperatures, to help pinpoint ovulation. Their urine was also tested for surges of LH (the hormone that triggers ovulation) that would indicate ovulation had occured and these indicators were cross-checked against each other to ensure that the women had actually ovulated when they said they did.
Aspects of the Shettles theory that couples were instructed to try – Abstaining from intercourse all month, until the onset of EWCM or from CD 7. Couples who wanted a son were told to have intercourse on the day after peak CM (indicating ovulation), and couples who wanted a daughter were told to have intercourse 2-3 days before peak CM is anticipated using the previous month’s charts to predict ovulation (I don’t know how long in advance they were charting, but I wish I did!). They were also told to have intercourse only once during the fertile period and abstain until the 5th day after the peak CM.
Aspects of Shettles that couples were NOT instructed to try – Douching, avoiding/encouraging female orgasm, and using a particular position. No other aspects of swaying were used.
Wow, sounds great right? Very interesting! But here’s the problem. Of the 185 couples who started the study, only 33 finished it. The others all dropped out or were disqualified because they broke the rules, by having intercourse too often or at the wrong time, didn‘t get pregnant, or had miscarriages. 33 is NOT a proper sample size to tell us anything reliably. The results of the study did seem to refute Shettles (only 39% conceived their desired gender) and ~seemed~ to show that timing intercourse 3-5 days before ovulation sways blue and 12 hours after ovulation sways pink, but that could have been just sheer luck. In NO WAY does this prove O+12 works or that Shettles doesn’t, and certainly does not scientifically prove that timing intercourse has anything at all to do with gender ratio.
Also, the self-reported nature of the information is problematic. Couples may say they had intercourse at a certain time but there is no way for us to know this. Determining ovulation by previous charts, as the couples aiming for a cutoff were told to do, is notoriously unreliable, particularly if they had only charted for a month prior to their attempt (that’s why I wish I knew how long they had been charting in advance!) And there are some math errors in the study that are highly concerning and cast doubt on the entire thing.
But, Kynzi was undeterred by the tiny sample size, the self-reported nature of the info, or the math errors. She had actually planned to have her tubes tied because at this point her oldest son was 17 (making her in her late 30’s which as we know sways pink, but I digress) but decided to ride the conception roller coaster one more time to give this new info a try!
After all this Shettles-izing, Kynzi was already expert at charting her cycles and determining ovulation. She decided she would try to emulate the couples in the study and had her husband abstain for her entire cycle (which as we know sways pink, but again, I digress). History does not record if she ate the girl diet, took supplements, or douched, but since she had done so before, I suspect she probably did again.
Then, they attempted their attempt. Attempted, because halfway through DTD a little boy arrived at their door in the grips of the stomach flu and about to throw up (illness sways pink, but I digress yet again). They didn’t even manage to complete the transaction because Kynzi had to get up to take care of him (jump and dump sways pink – there I go again!). The entire family got sick, but after the bug had come and gone, Kynzi somehow, some way, had managed to get pregnant from the very small amount of sperm that had been present in her husband’s pre-ejaculate (low sperm count sways pink ). 9 months later her little girl was born! (the odds of a family having 7 boys in a row is .8%, so it may have just been their “turn” for a girl – ok I‘m done now!)
Obviously, there are a lot of unanswered questions about O+12. People have used it seemingly successfully, but biology indicates that of all the baby girls who have ever been born on the face of the planet, the vast majority of them were conceived with sperm that had been waiting in the cervical crypts prior to ovulation. The design of the female reproductive tract is pretty much tailor-made to keep sperm alive for as long as possible. Sperm live up to 5 days in fertile EWCM while the egg lives at best only 1 day (and usually less) and EWCM dries up a few hours after ovulation.
Even if we assume that twice as many babies are conceived 12 hours after ovulation (unlikely because most women have an increase in desire PRIOR to ovulation and a drop-off afterwards), statistically it is very, very unlikely that the 3 billion women walking around the face of the earth were all conceived from a single shot 12 hours after ovulation.