Ah, timing. The glorious promise that, if only we have sex on the magical day, we will then conceive a baby of our desired gender. It sounds SO great, so easy. You can read about it a thousand places online and surely that many people can‘t be wrong…can they?
It even makes sense – X is big and slow, Y is small and fast, X must swim slow but live a long time, Y must be quick but die sooner. Of course! It explains EVERYTHING!
The trouble with timing is, IT DOESN’T WORK! Here’s why.
–Timing is based entirely on one man’s mistake.
40-odd years ago, Dr. Landrum Shettles (who was actually an incredibly smart man in pretty much every way and did wonders for the cause of infertility), took a look at some sperm under a microscope and noticed something that no one had ever seen before. Some of the sperm had tiny little heads and seemed to be moving faster, while other sperm had big fat heads and were moving more slowly. He immediately concluded that the fat heads HAD to be X sperm and the skinny heads HAD to be Y sperm. He began to perform and publish studies based on this idea, write books, and we STILL can’t get rid of the guy 40 year later.
The problem is, he was TOTALLY WRONG. What he was really looking at, was capacitated and uncapacitated sperm. The capacitation process had not yet been discovered when Dr. Shettles developed his timing theory. Capacitated sperm are sperm that have lost the protective cap at their tip and are all excited aobut it because it means they’re ready to fertilize an egg. Uncapacitated sperm are bigger and more laid back because they still have their protective cap. Eventually, they’ll lose that cap and be small and move around a lot more too, but they are BOTH X and Y sperm, whether they have a cap or whether they don’t. Sperm capacitate in waves and they seem to be able to communicate with each other on some primitive level to coordinate this process, so as long as there are living sperm present, some will be capacitated and ready to fertilize any cute little egg who happens to show up dateless at the party, and some will be waiting their turn.
Over the course of time, the capacitated sperm will die – capacitated sperm don’t live too long after they lose their cap. So when Dr. Shettles makes the claim that “Y sperm don’t live as long“, what he was really observing was the early deaths of capacitated sperm. Capacitated sperm DO die sooner than uncapacitated sperm, but X and Y sperm live the same length of time! It is VERY likely that there always going to be SOME X and SOME Y among the capacitated and incapacitated sperm (although we do not know this for a fact and this ~may~ be something that does sway gender.)
It is totally and completely impossible for anyone to look through a microscope and tell the difference between X and Y sperm. If they could, we would have no need for Microsort and PGD. Dr. Potter or Dr. Sher or any RE could simply, at a glance, pick out X and Y sperm (and they would LOVE to be able to do this because it would make high tech gender swaying much more affordable and bring them tons of new business!!) But they cannot tell the difference between X and Y sperm by looking at them through a microscope. It is impossible to do, which is why they use Microsort and PGD!!! So whenever you read anything about timing that claims that X sperm are big and slow and live a long time, Y sperm are small and fast and die quickly, it is ALL nonsense BS based on Dr. Shettles’ BIG mistake.
Interestingly, Dr. Shettles did manage to come up with a couple things that really DO sway gender – abstinence really DOES sway pink and releasing every 2-4 days really DOES sway blue, so it is very likely that his method was as succesful as it was because of this serendipitous suggestion. Sometimes, it is better to be lucky than good.
–X and Y sperm live the same length of time, swim the same speed, and are really pretty similar in size.
Seriously, for reals. The ONLY difference between X and Y sperm is the tiny little arm of the X chromosome which amounts to only 1% difference in amount of DNA. There are 22 other chromosomes in each sperm that are all pretty close to the exact same size – the arm of the X amounts to only ¼ of one chromosome!! If you don‘t believe it, read thishttp://genderdreaming.com/forum/scie…m-y-sperm.html
On some other sway sites, they make a claim that timing works not because of any size difference or life span but because X and Y sperm swim differently and many women claim to have seen this in a microscope. This idea is based on one study that was done in bull sperm, not human, and in vitro conditions that we have no way of knowing if they even translate into the body, and if so, how. Numbers of sperm in the sample seemed to have way more to do with how the sperm swam than any difference between X and Y sperm. The sperm were also sorted by Microsort before being studied and we have no way to know how much the Microsort procedure affected the sperm. Comparative motility of X and Y chromosome–bearing bovine sperm separated on the basis of DNA content by flow sorting – Penfold – 1998 – Molecular Reproduction and Development – Wiley Online Library
Not only that, but sperm by and large do NOT swim to the egg. They are mostly carried to the egg by currents of EWCM, muscle contractions, and the action of cilia lining the Fallopian tubes, and only need their swimming ability to make it into the cervical crypts and in a few areas like the junction between the uterus and Fallopian tubes. In fact, the fastest swimming sperm are often dead on arrival and incapable of fertilizing the egg.
This study is 13 years old and if there was anything useful in it, researchers would very likely have followed up on it by now (not even the researchers themselves seem to have followed up on this study??) Trained lab technicians with many years of experience cannot tell the difference between X and Y sperm (which is why they use Microsort). It is highly implausible that untrained laymen, especially ones who desperately want to see a particular result to “prove” that their sways are working, are able to see anything that highly trained experts in the field, are not.
–It doesn’t fit in with the biology and workings of the human body.
The entire female reproductive tract is designed to keep sperm alive inside of itself for as long as possible. It has lots of nooks and crannies for sperm to hide in, and all these little hiding places churn out tons of alkaline CM for several days before an egg even arrives. In this environment, sperm can live for 7 days and maybe even 10! The egg only lives for a maximum 24 hours after ovulation, and in many cases, more like 12 hours (and the egg deteriorates for some time before dying and may not be receptive to sperm). Given this design, it is likely that most of the people ever born on the planet were from sperm that was in the reproductive tract BEFORE the egg arrived. If humans could only get pg from BD right at ovulation, the reproductive tract would just be a straight tube with no nooks and crannies for sperm to get lost in, and the egg would come out very close to the vaginal opening.
If you could only or even just mostly conceive a boy from one BD right at ovulation, but conceived mostly girls the other days of the fertile window, the world would be disproportionately female-heavy, but instead, it’s actually the other way around, with 140-160 boys conceived for every 100 females, dropping to 106 boys born for every 100 girls.
Maybe people just DO IT more on O day trying to get pregnant, so that means more boys are conceived that day than all the other days put together ? Maybe not. Humans, unlike all other animals on the planet, have a little quirk called hidden ovulation. We don’t come into visible heat like animals do and we can have intercourse at any time. Because of this, people could not even PREDICT ovulation until very recently, so pregnancies occurred from BD on totally random days during a 5-7 day window when females are fertile enough to keep sperm alive until the egg arrives, rather than from a concerted effort at pregnancy on O day. Just from sheer statistics, even if double the amount of conceptions happen from BD on O day, that would leave all the other days of the fertile window for sex to take place on. That would still mean way more girls than boys conceived, if timing swayed in any way at all.
–But there are STUDIES!
Some studies seem to show that timing sways. However, there are also studies that show that DTD with a long cutoff makes more boys than girls. Other studies find more girls on O day. It is extremely likely that the reason why these studies do not agree, is because there is NO pattern there to find. Take 50 people and give them quarters to flip, and repeat this process several other times, and you will have MANY times when there are more heads than tails or vice versa! If there really WAS anything whatsoever to timing, these studies would all be in agreement. Timing is the most studied aspect of gender swaying by far and if there was anything to it, it would have been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt by now.
Beyond sheer luck, several of the studies that claim to support timing, used different protocols for couples who wanted boys and girls. For boys, the couples naturally ovulated and then had IUI done on O day (I assume to ensure that fertilization on O day really occurred.) For girls, the couples were given Clomid and told to have intercourse 2-4 days before ovulation. The problem with this is that IUI sways blue by bypassing the entire female reproductive tract (and sperm are washed and capacitated in advance, possibly removing some chemicals that may sway, and also recall that the capacitation process and primitive communication between sperm may sway in some way as well). Clomid sways pink by creating hostile cervical mucus that then sperm would have to live in for 2-4 days before the egg arrived!! You are supposed to CONTROL variables in studies, not introduce new ones!! The methodology used by the people who did these studies, is akin to telling people, ok Group A, you wear a blue hat and eat a lot of fatty foods and sugar, and Group B, you wear a pink hat and eat only vegetables and whole grains, and then concluding that blue hats clearly make you have heart attacks while pink hats are preventative.
Some of the other studies did not accurately pinpoint O (and even took place before it was really understood HOW to pinpoint O!!) or relied on self-reported information and these studies are TOTALLY useless. You cannot tell people (especially people who desperately WANT to achieve a certain result, like people with gender disappointment) that they need to do something that may be difficult to do (like abstaining for 14 days or temping every day) as part of a study, and then rely on the info that they then provide to be in any way accurate. Some people keep secrets from the researcher if they think the researcher will be “mad” at them, and others really legitimately want something so much that they may remember things wrong, so they may subconsciously decide they Oed a day later or earlier than they really did. If they forgot to temp one day, they may fill it in anyway in the pattern that they think it “should“ have been, if they DTD on the wrong day they may fudge that info or simply erase it from memory. Even researchers themselves have not been above altering and misrepresenting information.
Spending a day or two on the gender swaying forums will clearly demonstrate that even with a pretty high level of technology and understanding (BBT, OPK, and the ability to track our temps online), it is REALLY tough to pinpoint O even for those of us who are pretty knowledgeable about it. Most of these studies were done with antiquated technology that are not reliable predictors of ovulation anyway. Some even just had women BD on CD 14 for boys and we all know that is totally unreliable because we can O on many different days.
The best studies we have at our disposal do not find any correlation between day of intercourse and gender of baby conceived. Timing in Relation to Intercourse Study
–But I KNOW some people who swear timing worked for them.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that these people really did get the timing exactly spot on (which they probably didn’t). Timing has supposedly seemed to sway for some people; whether that was because of luck or because abstinence and missionary with no female O sways pink and BD every two days, doggy style with female O seems to sway blue, who knows. IF timing sways, it has to be for some REASON and not a magical, mystical, quality of a certain day.
Maybe it’s dryer CM, maybe it’s sperm count, or many other things – because remember, it can’t be that X sperm are big and slow and live a long time, that was Dr. Shettle’s BIG mistake. Perhaps instead, it’s that the majority of women have hostile CM on certain cycle days and that sways pink, or that the majority of women who BD on O have more EWCM and that EWCM sways blue. Isn’t it smarter to focus on actually doing the things that really sway, instead of expending this massive effort trying to do timing? Because, if you’re not one of the people in that majority, if you have copious amounts of EWCM 3 DBO, and you rely solely on timing, it won’t work! If you have girls because you have low pH, dry, hostile mucus, you could BD on O day from now until menopause and get girls.
You cannot use your past cycles to predict what your future cycles will be anyway! So even if you really believe with all your heart and soul that timing will sway for you on the basis of all your previous cycles, start taking saw palmetto or L-arginine and watch your cycle change before your very eyes.
Not only that, but all the people who swear timing worked – we have no way of knowing what else they had going on in their lifestyles or bodies that may have swayed for them. The woman who told me about timing and swore by it, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer right after her daughter was born (she thankfully recovered). Seems very likely to me that the early stages of cancer probably sways a lot harder than DTD on any particular day ever could.
Point being, we cannot know how accurately people even DID timing, if it does work for some people it may not work for you, and it may only seem to work because the people who tried it, have other issues going on that swayed for them. Plus, we can accomplish all the exact same things that timing MIGHT do, in other, better, more reliable ways.
–It actually really DOESN’T make any sense at all. WHY would timing even sway??
Seriously. Think about it for a minute. I suppose Dr. Shettles chalked this up to just an accident of big and small sperm, but Dr. Shettles was wrong. Scientists now believe that the reason why gender swaying is possible is because it gives a small advantage to whatever gender offspring has the best odds of survival, a pretty awesome thing either designed into us by God or else fashioned over millions of years of natural selection. Why the HECK would the day you have sex, matter in any way whatsoever to the survival odds of your child? Boys need more calories and nutrients of all sorts from the moment of conception thru adulthood. If your body didn’t have enough calories to grow a healthy baby boy on Thursday, does it make any logical sense whatsoever that by having sex Saturday instead, he would be any better off?
Conception, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding are VERY dangerous, risky, “biologically expensive” undertakings for the female of any species. It was not at all uncommon for women to die in childbirth even as little as 100 years ago and it was just as risky regardless of whether you delivered a big, healthy baby or one that didn‘t have such a good chance at survival (infant mortality used to be unbelievably high – more than half of all babies born, died before they turned one). Our genes did not survive for countless generations by taking such a major risk to our lives based on something as arbitrary as the day of the week you had sex on.
Virtually everything our bodies do, is for the reason of keeping us alive and helping us pass down our genes to future generations, and keeping that fact in mind, timing makes NO SENSE because it could actually KILL you to conceive a baby with no shot of survival – a huge risk for no benefit! ANY baby could kill you as little as a century ago and so your body didn’t want to take that risk for a child with less than the best shot at survival. Even your living children would be more likely to die without a mother to care for them – that is a genetic dead end!! It makes much more sense that our genes would “want” to sway gender not out of sheer luck, but because of real tangible things that would help your them best survive to get handed down to future generations.
–But it can’t hurt, right??
People figure, well, ok, so timing may not work and may be just a bunch of hoo-hah but still, I want to include everything in my sway and timing can’t hurt so I want to do it anyway.
But actually, it really DOES hurt sways all the time!!
For blue swayers: The entire idea of swaying blue is based around the idea that you’re boosting fertility. With that in mind, blue swayers, by all rights ought to be getting pg more quickly than they have in the past (and certainly quicker than pink swayers!) But something is going seriously wrong because blue swayers are going for months and months without conceiving. The insistence on boy timing is one of those things. Studies have indicated that for best results getting pregnant, it’s better to have intercourse 1-2 days BEFORE ovulation, not rely on one attempt on O day. The sperm may take some time to get where it needs to go and capacitate in enough numbers to find that eggo before it deteriorates and can no longer be fertilized.
The longer you go on not getting pregnant, the longer you have to stay on diets/and supps that are really not great for you. I personally do not think that eating ghastly levels of sodium, drinking baking soda water, and eliminating calcium entirely from your diet, is in any way good for you, your fertility, and may even reduce your odds of conceiving a son over the course of many months. Additionally, many women end up gaining too much weight on IG or HE Diets by staying on them for several months. Gaining a little weight will help your sway, but gaining too much weight may actually backfire and sway pink, if you gain so much that you actually suppress your fertility.
Also, if my “high sperm numbers at egg sway blue” theory is true, you are putting yourself at a major disadvantage with only one attempt at O. If you had two or even three attempts in your fertile window, when you have optimized your environment for best sperm survival thru diet and supps, you would be sure to increase numbers of available sperm in your reproductive tract. Do not worry about swaying pink by having more than one attempt! For frequent release to sway pink, it has to be 7-10 days in a row without skipping any days. DTD 2 days in a row WILL NOT SWAY PINK.
For pink swayers: The stress and level of attention to detail involved in timing methods is among the worst things you can do for your testosterone levels. You have to undertake this huge project, take your temp, track it on paper, obsess over every little nuance of it, and for what? Something that does not even sway for you at all!!!
In addition, by doing these long cutoffs (some people do 4 and 5 day cutoffs – you can get pg that way when you are very fertile, but when you’re doing things to sway pink, your environment will be a lot more hostile to sperm and they will have a much harder time surviving), you make it very difficult to conceive. The longer you go on not getting pregnant, the longer you have to stay on the diet and supps, and the more stressed out people tend to get. Their testosterone may go up from stress and then after one or 2 BFN, they start dropping things, and usually they start with diet because it’s the hardest to stick to, and go from there. Diet really sways for real, biological reasons. If nothing else, DO DIET!
Also, I have not really mentioned O+12 in this essay but O+12 makes it next to impossible for many people to get pg. Many eggs (esp. in older women) do not even LIVE 12 hours after ovulation and they are certainly not in the greatest condition at the end of their lifespan. And you may as well take a birth control pill as try for an O+16 or O+20. Anyone who claims they got pg at O+20 either messed up on calculating ovulation or else released two eggs that month and hit the second egg. And the people who do cutoff and O+12 – they almost certainly got pg from the cutoff BD and not the O+12 and that is true regardless of what they say, think or believe. Remember, your entire reproductive tract is designed to conceive using sperm already in your body before ovulation even occurs.
The longer you go on not getting pregnant, the more the diet takes a toll and if you do end up losing too much weight too quickly, you can interfere with your ovulation. It’s much much better to hit it hard on diet for a couple months and get pg fast, than to linger on for ages on the diet while driving yourself insane chasing after sway tactics that don’t even work.
–Yes, but I have to do the opposite!!
No, you DON’T have to do the opposite. If timing doesn’t sway, that’s NOT what got you boys in the first place. I have seen SO MANY people claim they conceived on “boy timing” only to find out that they BD every two days (which is boy frequency and they prob. had more than one attempt in their fertile window anyway, and who knows which BD was even the one that yielded the baby) or “girl timing” only to find out that they did abstain (which sways pink!). It is often the frequency that is swaying, not the day you DTD on. Not only that, but really, unless you had an ultrasound at the moment your egg released, or a trigger shot to make you release an egg, you really DO NOT know when exactly you Oed. You may have Oed early, late, released two eggs and hit only one, etc. You CANNOT pinpoint the moment of ovulation based on O pains, OPK, temps, cervical texture, CM, or anything else.
Plus, people always disregard all the other things they had going on that were boy friendly and focus solely on timing. I know that with my DS 1 and 3 in particular, I may as well have been DOING a boy sway for them because my diet was so boy friendly it was ridiculous! That I conceived both of them from BD before ovulation, sure didn’t make them girls!
Look at it this way – if you don’t lose weight on the Atkins diet, there is usually a REASON for that. Maybe your thyroid is screwed up, maybe you have lousy metabolism from years of crash dieting, maybe you ate too many calories overall, maybe you needed to exercise more, maybe you didn’t really understand the Atkins diet and ate too many vegetables when you weren’t supposed to, or whatever. Maybe you even cheated on the Atkins diet and are conveniently forgetting those times. It wasn’t because the Atkins diet “doesn’t work” for you and you have to do the opposite and so therefore you need to start eating nothing but birthday cake at every meal. That won’t work either and will just make things worse! You cannot just treat the symptoms if the disease is still running rampant (not that having sons/daughters is a disease!!) and you for sure can’t just put a pretty bandage on your flesh-eating strep infection! Even if it makes you feel good inside, like you’re “doing something”, a pretty bandage does not cure anything, and timing doesn’t sway. You have to treat what is really swaying for you, or your sway won’t work.