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Advice about Conception & Gender

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Pregnancy & Childbirth > Advice about Conception & Gender


Questions

Waiting Till Birth for Gender?

July 2008

i'm feeling both a bit of guilt and anxiety right now over the possible gender of our next child. we've decided not to find out the gender of our second and last child, which will be due at the end of the year. i have a child of one gender and i've always hoped that i would have one of each gender. that's what i grew up with and i guess it feels right to me because i ''know'' it--and i just want to be able to experience both sexes as a parent. but, of course this may not happen. i'm wondering if i'm making a mistake by not finding out the gender now. i feel like its a bit anti- climactic to know before hand. i know if i find out i'll be obsessing over the gender, whereas now its a nice mystery. the thing is, because of fertility issues it took years to conceive this child, which i think of as a miracle. deep down i know i would be thrilled with any sex as long as its a healthy child. but i do have that wish for a child of each gender and the last thing i want to do is to be disappointed at the birth. i have a feeling that the disapointment would be short lived, but i don't want to set myself up for any negative feelings at that moment or possible depression in the early weeks. i'm kind of ashamed to be asking this question because i am truely grateful for this gift i've been given and in the end gender is just one aspect of ones personality. but i can't ignore this little voice inside me who really wants to have the opportunity to parent both sexes. i figure its good to get this out now. i'm just wondering if anyone waited until the birth to find out and then felt very disappointed or depressed? i had a hard time adjusting to life as a mom in the first few months with my first child (now i love it) and i just don't want to set myself up for depression, if i would even get that far. any stories to share would be helpful--it would also be nice to hear positive experiences of parenting two same gender children...i feel super guity for even bringing this topic up and have even thought about seeing a therapist. gender guilt


I can tell you about our birth experience, but everyone is different so it's just one perspective, and may not mirror your experiences. I had one boy, and really wanted a girl for our second child. I also was trying for a VBAC, and did absolutely everything within my power to ''prepare'' (keeping my weight gain low, working out, following all my midwife's advice). As it turned out, I was suprised by a second emergency c-section, which followed the same circumstances as the first birth, and a boy. I have to admit, I did nurse some disappointed feelings about both the birth and the gender for a few days, maybe up to one week. But, that was secondary to my relief at having a second healthy baby, and my astonishment that the recovery to the 2nd C-section was so much better than the first (perhaps due in part to my diligence in ''taking care of myself'' better than I did for the first pregnancy). Anyway...in retrospect, I don't mind that I had a bit of disappointment - it didn't wreck the experience by any means. I still relish the memory of keeping the gender a secret. For me there was so much joy in anticipating this suprise. If we had a 3rd child, I would find out the gender, but only to experience something different. And suprisingly, I now consider the idea of three boys to be very appealing, maybe even my preference, but most importantly I can truly say that I would be thrilled either way (if we had a 3rd child - still undecided). So, you know yourself and your reactions, but in my case, I was really suprised by how much I've embraced our reality of All Boys - and you might suprise yourself too. I think whatever we end up having, that becomes our reality and then we start to build a life around that and it quickly becomes what we know, recognize and love. Mom of two wonderful boys
We waited with our 1st daughter, and it was fun to find out the day she was born. We thought we wanted to wait with our 2nd, but I think we were also hoping to find out if it was a boy. I have always wanted a little boy, and I think that my husband would have liked it as well, although he always wanted a little girl. We gave in & found out at 30 weeks that we are having another little girl. We were in shock for a few days, but at least for me it gave me some reassurance that I would not have to worry about either covering femininty/masculinity issues equally and also learning to deal with two children of different genders.

I do agree that it's anti-climactic, however, I don't necessarily feel a stronger bond because I know she's a girl. Some people are thrilled to know early, but it honestly isn't doing much for me.

However, if you can't stop thinking about having two children of different genders vs. both of the same, finding out early would assuage that. Although for me, that just ended the wondering & thinking about a little boy and then I felt like ''now what?'' If it really doesn't matter, in the end, then you could probably deal with it once your beautiful blessing is here.

FYI -I have also dealt with depression issues but am also a happy to know I will have two little girls to love even though this is our last and we know we won't ever be having a little boy. Proud mommy of two little girls


I have three sons and did not know the gender of any of them before birth, even though we had amnios, ultrasounds, etc - so someone knew. For us it was very simple - we wanted a child, we didn't care which gender. I feel like there are very few good surprises left in life - and after 40 weeks of pregnancy I needed a good surprise! Got a beauty every time! Surprised every time
I had the ultrasound. Knowing ahead of time that I was having another boy was good for us. It allowed my husband to feel his little bit of disappointment that our second would not be a girl without bringing it to the birth (I actually did not care either way) and it helped our older child to connect with his brother and call him by name. I am pregnant now with our third and last baby, and in one months time I am off for our ultrasound. While it is mostly to check the baby over and make sure everything looks good, once again we will find out the gender. It was just so good for our oldest to know that we want to do it the same way again. And yes, by the way, you were right in your guess that you will love that baby no matter what. I also feel compelled to mentioned that it has become apparent in our family that a brother is exactly what my older son needed. And now they are thick as thieves. Whatever you get will be right for your family! Whatever you decide, good luck! In the Know
I could have written your post two years ago. We found out the gender with our first (a boy) and were very happy and it was fun planning, decorating, etc. With the second, I found that I got a lot of the ''are you hoping for a girl now?'' comments and deep down, I'd always pictured myself with a daughter. I think I knew in my heart I was having a boy, although we chose to wait to find out the gender. Our thinking for that was that if we found out it was a boy, I would feel a little let down, and then guilt for that feeling, and that would taint the birth and bonding. We decided that if we waited, once we SAW our child, gender wouldn't matter and we'd just fall in love with our baby. Also, people were less likely to have irritating reactions to the news of a second boy if he was already born verus finding out before. In the end, three weeks before the birth, a nurse slipped and said the gender anyway (I guess this is a common occurance.) We kept it to ourselves, and three weeks later had another beautiful little boy. Needless to say, I adore both my kids and am so grateful to have both. Having two of the same is a lot of fun...they can be best friends, share toys/clothes, and it's fun to see how they are alike and different despite their same gender. Mine are night and day.

I do still dream of having a girl...but for us it would be through adoption, for health reasons, and...for the balance of being able to get a girl for certain. Don't feel guilt. Desiring a certain gender is very, very normal. You can have one gender and adore your child/children but still dream of having the other. Mama of two amazing boys


I found out while pregnant what I was having, and it was my 2nd boy. I was very disappointed and felt like the rest of my pregnancy was somewhat tainted by that. Now it is great, but I definitely wasn't as excited for his arrival as I was with my first. Not sure whether it is better to know ahead of time and feel disappointment while pregnant or to find out at the birth and feel disappointment then, but it made me somewhat depressed for the remainder of my pregnancy. Over it, finally!

Should we find out gender of 2nd baby?

May 2008

I am expecting my second baby in the fall and my husband and I are going back on forth on whether to find out our baby's gender. With my older son, we did not find out and it was perfect, we both loved it. This time, my husband would like to find out because he a) wants to be able to prepare in advance if we'll need girl stuff and b) He thinks that knowing more about our baby in advance will help him to bond better with him/her before baby's birth. I would like to wait again but am open to finding out. I'm curious to hear other families experiences particularly with second babies. Thanks so much for sharing with us! pink or blue?


Like you, we chose to be surprised about our first baby's gender. How many big, happy surprises like that do you get to have in life, right? With our second, we opted to find out the gender. Our older child was not particularly thrilled at the prospect of a sibling and has trouble with transitions in general, so we thought he would be better-prepared the more he knew. Also, I was hoping for a girl and was pretty sure I wouldn't want a third child, so I wanted time to cope with my feelings if it turned out to be a boy. Sure enough, the ultrasound very clearly showed a penis. My emotional response was quite a lot stronger than I'd anticipated, and I'm glad I had time to adjust. If the surprise and those feelings had come up at the birth, I'm afraid it would have cast a shadow. A male friend of ours was also surprised at his own disappointment when his last child was another boy rather than a girl. So I'd say if either you or your husband has any fear of being disappointed, finding out in advance is a good idea. I can't say that it really helped me *bond* any better, but I think knowing more what to expect did help my older son. Having time to prepare a girl-y nursery and clothes certainly sounds like fun, too! Whatever you decide, good luck! 2-Boy Mama
With both our children, we found out the baby's gender from the amnio. Many of our friends waited til birth because they wanted it to be a surprise. Well, it was a surprise too when we found out the results from the amnio, just a few months earlier, so what's the difference? This way, we could pick out a name earlier (no need to pick out a boy's and a girl's name, just one), and we could plan and bond. One woman I know did not find out the gender with both her kids until birth, and she actually regretted it towards the end of her second pregnancy. Why wait? It's still a surprise, just a few months earlier
My experience was with my first baby, but looking back I don't feel like it was less of a surprise to find out at 20 weeks, just a surprise at a different time. I was so excited and overcome with emotion when they told me at the ultrasound - I burst into tears. I feel I had time to enjoy the surprise and excitement, and share it with everyone - it was the most wonderful moment of my pregnancy. I think I would have missed this blessing if I had waited, because I was exhausted and in pain after delivery and not really able to feel much at that time. Happy I found out.
I would wait. There is no better surprise on earth! You can always buy clothes and whatnot after the baby is born. I waited, and it was the most exciting moment of my life
Can your husband keep a secret? If so, let him find out and you can have the surprise at the end. Thank you.
What I most enjoyed about finding out the sex of my babies while I was pregnant (both girls) was that I could stop calling them ''it'' and start thinking of them as ''her'' which humanized each baby for me in a different way. I think that is what people mean by ''bonding'' better. Somehow we have a hard time feeling like we know a person without knowing their gender. So my baby didn't seem like a real person when she was an ''it'' or a ''him or her.'' On the other hand, having a boy first, I don't think it matters so much in terms of getting the right clothes and stuff before the birth. People don't seem to have much problem putting a newborn girl in blue or ''boyish'' clothes. (Whereas for some reason they don't like putting a boy in frilly pink. Hmm. Go figure ;) I know others who really enjoyed keeping the sex a surprise until the birth, but I enjoyed knowing my child's sex and even her name as soon as possible. --not into surprises while giving birth
Hi there, Just thought I would share our experience since it worked out really well for us. With our first baby, absolutely everything was new - no idea what to expect, etc. etc. We opted to find out the gender so we could plan and get ready as much as possible (catering to my comfort level). It was, of course, very special because it was the first time we had gone through pregnancy, childbirth and childrearing. With our second child, my husband convinced me to keep the gender a surprise. His point was that we already have an idea of what pregnancy, etc. is like (obviously they can be very different but in general you know what's coming!) so to make the second child's birth equally special, lets keep it a surprise.

It was a perfect way to go (well he did have to come home from the hospital in a pink blanket...) and now we get to tell each of them about the special stories of their births. Smart man, my husband. :)

Good luck with your decision, either way, you get a baby! Kristie


Disappointed about gender of first baby

April 2007

I am 20 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I just had my ultrasound yesterday. We are having a boy and I am disappointed by this news. When the technician showed us the ''proof'', I almost felt like saying, ''There must be a mistake''. I did not realize how much I had been hoping for a girl, and I feel foolish for thinking I had any control in this matter.

My family & friends all guessed it was a girl as well. I am sure I will love this child with all my heart regardless of it's gender, but I am surprised by my reaction to the news. My husband feels neutral so he is happy with this news. I feel guilty that I am not as elated. We are thrilled to have a child, so why do I feel bummed out about this?

By the way, I am not a girlie girl and some of my dearest friends are men. This certainly confirms the saying, ''Life is what happens while you're busy making plans''. Confused Parent To Be


Don't beat yourself up over this. Many many parents have been disappointed on first learning the sex of their child. You will definitely get over it and enjoy yours. One problem with our feelings while we are expecting is that you haven't actually met your son yet, so it is hard to have specific feelings for him. (Just like it would have been hard to be in love with your husband, and excited about getting married to him, before you even met him!) All you know about this baby now is that he is a boy, but after he is born you will meet him and watch him develop into a unique little person and you will have a special relationship with him. So don't fret too much if you can help it. anon
I remember the day we found out our baby was a boy....We were shocked. Everyone swore he was going to be a girl, and though my husband and I never spoke about it, we each expected a girl for our own weird reasons. We were blind-sighted, and literally struck dumb. It seemed like our whole world (or what we thought our world would be) had changed.

The truth is, gender only matters so much when you are pregnant because it is the only thing you are able to know about the baby. What color will his hair be? his eyes? How much will he cry? How alert will he be? Will he sleep through the night right away (not likely!)? When and how will he prefer to eat? How will he like to be held? You will be filled with these questions (and their answers) from the day he is born, and gender will matter so much less than it seems like it will now.

I can't speak to what it will mean to have an older boy--we just aren't there yet. I can say that our son's gender virtually disappeared the day he was born--there was just too much else about him to discover. Best Wishes


Hello I wasn;t in your shows (i wanted and had a boy) but a good friend of mine was. She really wanted a boy and had a girl. I just wanted to say that i have no idea why you feel that way but that's it ok to. It's also important to say it to people you can trust. People made me feel bad for having a strong opinion and they certainly made my friend feel worst. IN the end she chose to deal in silence and she had a horrible end of pregancy and i always felt quilty for not giving her more of a space to voice her feelings. I thik if yu can talk about it you can say why and start getting on with life. magaliusa
I felt the same way at my ultrasound. I just felt... deflated. Like it wasn't real. I guess I had really wanted a girl. But trust me, when the baby is born, you're going to forget all about that. There are some wonderful things about having a boy, and some surprising aspects I hadn't considered (I would have never guessed how sweet and sensitive boys can be... just wait until your son says, ''I love you, Mom.'') Hang in there-- A boy mom
I understand how you feel about being disappointed about gender. I always wanted a girl (and I'm not a girly girl either) but our baby turned out to be a boy. When I first found out he was a boy I was sad and disappointed. But as soon as he was born I found out that it absolutely doesn't matter at all. In fact, I love having a boy!

My son is 16 months old now and he is totally adorable and into lots of ''boy'' things (he loves cars -- go figure). I enjoy seeing him learn new things and develop his own interests. Plus, it's true that boys love their mamas. So I wouldn't worry about it too much if I were you. Just know that this is the baby you were meant to have -- you may be surprised to find out that he is perfect! :) mom of a wonderful boy


I completely understand your feelings. I knew I wanted a girl when I was pregnant and kept dreaming about a little girl. I did not want to know the baby's gender after the amnio but at one point, I intuitively 'knew' it was a boy and it was. I was a little disappointed but once he was born, it truly made no difference. And I have to say that having a boy has been a sweet, sweet experience, one that I did not expect. True, there are times that I have felt he comes from another planet since I was never interested in trucks, sticks, monsters, and the like, but there is a sweetness in our relationship that would be different with a girl. And although he is beginning his teenage years, I know it would be much tougher with a girl. So don't feel guilty; I know from other women that this is common. Just hope for a healthy baby and things will change when he is born. I think it's good that you are open about your feelings. Once he smiles at you, all those other feelings will disappear. a Boy's Mama
Coming from a family of girls, and not having grown up with close male cousins, neighbors, etc. I also felt mild disappointment andapprehension when I found out our first child was a boy. I think it's extremely common and nothing to get anxious or embarrassed about. Let yourself ''mourn'' a little bit, but then it go. Your child will surprise and delight you in more ways than you could ever imagine, precisely because he is a boy and his own unique personality. Boy's Mama
hi, i just want you to know that you are not alone--i had the exact same reaction when i found out my son was going to be a boy. and of course the guilt only makes it worse...in my case, i went to see a therapist about it; we worked it out in one session (and she ended up being my long-term, wonderful therapist--so something great came out of it!).

my reasons for being disappointed included: utter surprise (we had also been sure and all of our friends had been sure it would be a girl); concern that i wouldn't be able to connect with or understand a boy (i AM a ''girlie-girl'' and DON'T have many close relationships with men); concern about having a stereotypically barrelling-around, accident-prone boy; and my own trust issues with men that raised their gnarly heads. in the end, as i said, i worked through a lot of this stuff, which was a good thing for me and my son (and his father). and a lot of it was totally a nonissue: my son is sweet, sensitive, and cautious (more so than any young girl i know); and i can't imagine being more bonded with any other human being. i do have concerns that when he's a teenager i may not have the personal knowledge to help him with his problems, but i will deal with that when it comes...and it's of course also true that had i had a girl, she would not have necessarily had similar experiences/issues as i had--i.e. i would not necessarily have been able to relate to her, just because she was a girl!

there was also, now that i'm thinking about it, a sense of disappointment that since he was a boy, he wouldn't be like me...but that is so far from the truth. my son is very similar to me in personality and demeanor; and we love most of the same things.

i think, for me, a lot (if not all) of my disappointments--in life, and especially in that first year of motherhood--derived from having expectations. if you can allow yourself to let go of images or ideas of how it will be, and let it just happen, life will be much easier overall. i wish you luck--feel free to write me if you'd like to talk about all this. tiffarhae@yahoo.com


Don't worry; I bet about 50% of parents go through this, because somewhere in the back of our minds we have our lives planned out, and if the baby's gender is different from what we envisioned, things seem somehow ''wrong''. I'm the mom of 3--2 girls and a boy, and I felt the same way when I saw the ultrasound for baby #2, who was the same gender as her older sister. I'd always envisioned mom, dad, a girl and a boy. But you are right--when the baby comes out, all that will melt away, and all that will matter is that you have a perfect child that is all yours. Go shopping for a few little ''boy'' things. Talk to moms of baby boys...it will be all good. Congratulations! It'll be amazing. heidi
I was in your exact same position when I found out we were having a boy. My first piece of advice is to not feel guilty about your reaction and allow yourself to feel what you're feeling. Of course you know you're blessed to be pregnant--but you can be blessed and disappointed at the same time!

My second piece of advice is to go out and buy something special for your little guy. It doesn't have to be expensive, just something that you love that is just for him. I found this adorable outfit that really helped me start to wrap my brain around my child in a more concrete (and male!) sense.

Lastly, of course you're right that you will love your child completely. I can't imagine life without my little guy and I'm sure that by the time yours arrives you'll be ready. Love my boy


Hi! You are not alone! My little boy is 9 months old, and the exact same thing happened to me at the ultrasound. And until I read your posting, I had literally forgotten all about it!

I am embarassed to admit that I cried as soon as I left the appointment. I was so glad that I found out in advance since it did take a few days of adjusting for me. Within no time, I was just thrilled to be having a healthy baby.

This joy kept growing and once he was born, it never crossed my mind. In fact, I love having a son so much that as we start thinking about baby #2, I would love to have another boy!

So don't be hard on yourself about feeling disappointed. It's totally normal. I have seen a ton of postings on the BPN about it! And CONGRATULATIONS! Baby boys are such a joy! Happy mommy of little boy :)


Hi, I too was devastated to learn I was having a boy. Its not that unusual to be disappointed in the baby's gender as I learned poking around on the web so don't be hard on yourself. I was seriously depressed for about two weeks and then begrudgingly dealt with it the rest of the pregnancy. As I now hold my darling little boy I feel horribly guilty I ever felt that way (so much so that I feel he looks at me accusingly!). I don't have any specific coping techniques, I just wanted you to know you're not alone. love my boy
It's normal to feel disappointed when you've been getting really attached to an idea and then it doesn't happen that way. My husband and I went through your exact situation several weeks ago, and we both felt very guilty about feeling disappointed. I tried to not feel guilty, and to allow myself to feel disappointed. At the same time I didn't dwell on my desire for a little girl, and I made a deliberate effort to start noticing little boys and thinking about them in a positive way. After a few weeks, the idea of the girl had kind of subsided, although I do still feel a little bit sad about it. But the idea of a boy has gotten bigger, especially as I've started to feel him move, and we've both become more and more appreciative of what we do have. I bet something similar will happen with you. The message boards on www.babycenter.com have many interesting comments about this topic. anon
I had a boy in Feb06 and before I ever got PG I always imagined having a girl.I knew we only planned on one and so I imagined a daughter. For so many reasons, mostly to right the wrongs of the relationship between my mother and myself, I think. I imagined a brilliant girl that I could share all my femaleness with that my mohter never understood.My husband only admitted once to me when I finally got PG (after 7 years and a myomectomy)that he hoped it was a girl. By then, 3 days into my pregnancy,in fact, I knew I was having a boy. I just did. I think my husband was more disappointed than me when we found out for sure. He actually said so during the ultrasound--''Wow, I was actually hoping for a girl.'' Now, we have the ''boyest'' boy you could imagine and he is a barrel of laughs.He is sweet natured to the extreme but at the same time willful in his independence.They say boys can be later to do stuff and he was (like rolling over and crawling, just a bit)but once he has it, look out.I once would have said that gender rolls are taught but this kid has liked anything with even ONE wheel, especially trucks, since he could pick things up. He also has his stuffed cat, though, that he puts on his shoulder and rests his ear on it and says ''awwwwww'' to give it loves. The world of boys is lots of fun and it sounds like you actually like men and that makes a world of difference.I feel bad for the sons of women who go around complaining about men in front of them all day.Having a daughter would have been a very special journey for me but I was chosen to be the mother of a son and it has been a different but equally amazing trip.I wouldn't change a thing...David's Mommy
I understand what you are going through. I thought my first was going to be a girl, but alas, it was a boy. The second time around I found myself in a mini-panic attack because the ultrasound also showed a boy. So, two boys. The good news is that each child is so different, regardless of their gender. Some boys are rough and tumble as are some girls, and some girls like to play dress-up and with dolls as do some boys. It is really based on the child's personality. I think as women there is something about having what you know, but once that passes, you will find your boy to be his own person, hopefully a sweet and sensitive and loving person at that. My boys are older now and both amazing little fellas, and I feel very blessed to have them. anon
Your comment provides a good lesson to think carefully in choosing to inquire about the sex of an unborn child, if at any loevel you think you might not want 'bad' news. What a wonderful surprise to wait for otherwise!
Don't be hard on your self about your disappointment with your baby's gender - give yourself a pregnancy dispensation for heightened emotional responses. Someday no doubt you will look back on your reaction with amusement.

Here's my story: Twenty years ago I was pregnant with my first child. Initially we chose not to learn the gender from our amnio, but my husband was convinced it was a girl, and managed to persuade me as well. Shortly thereafter I felt fetal movement for the first time - a gentle tap-tap-tap - and imagined the considerate little girl who waited until I knew everything was okay with the pregnancy to announce her presence. Several months later I had to fly cross-country for a family medical emergency, and decided I did want the amnio information. (I'm absurdly superstitious about plane crashes and didn't want to die without knowing the gender of my unborn child.) So we got the karyotype from the amnio lab, with a back- up letter, in case we couldn't figure it out from the chromosome map. It took a few seconds to spot the correct chromosome pair, but when my eyes landed on the XY the first thought that went through my head was "oh well, it's not so bad if the plane crashes".

I was shocked and ashamed by my reaction. But I felt as though I'd lost the daughter whose image I'd bonded with for so many weeks. Indeed I was so embarrassed by my thoughts that I stopped writing the pregnancy diary we'd been keeping. I did confess my reaction to a good friend, a pediatrician, who told me of one of his patients who had been terrified of having a son because she'd been abused by most of the men in her life, but who went on to have a wonderful relationship with her son. The next day during a long drive to work I began to re-invent my pregnancy. I looked at the empty seat next to me and imagined an infant boy. Then I imagined a little boy in the seat, then a bigger one, then a teenager - and finally imagined a grown son in the driver's seat driving me! I often felt as if I'd experienced two different pregnancies - one with the sweet little girl who vanished, then the other with the son I eventually had.

Sometimes now when my 19 year old son is driving, I look over at him and smile at the memory of my daydream, and our progress through all the stages I envisioned. Your sense of humor about life's surprises will carry you through this one. (And I did eventually get pregnant with a daughter, whose first movements were anything but gentle - she announced her presence with a kick so powerful I thought I was having premature contractions. I was sure I was growing a soccer player - but I was wrong about that too.) Signed: mom of two


Dear Disappointed, I wept bitterly after my ultrasound when we learned that the baby I had assumed to be a girl was a boy. My partner was a bit distressed by my reaction at the time and I felt guilty about my feelings. It took me a few days to process the information, but I soon found that knowing the gender of the baby made him so much more ''real'' to me. I found it easier to imagine holding him, playing with him, and being a mommy to him, and by the time he arrived I was just anxious to make those dreams come true. My son is 18 months old today and I cannot imagine my life without him. Sure, I'd still love to have a baby girl down the road, but I continue to be surprised at how gender isn't the issue I imagined it would be before I became a mom. My advice: don't worry about your feelings, just be aware of them as they evolve. Enjoy your pregnancy! Mom of a terrific boy
you will probably get a lot of responses like this: try not to worry. when I was pregnant I really wanted a girl. when we learned we were having a boy we were so disappointed (yes, my husband too). I went into mourning that I wouldn't be able to 'continue my line' with a girl. by the time my son was born we were both over it, though. there are many things to appreciate about either sex, and perhaps it could be said that there are disadvantages to both as well...I can truly say I'm often GLAD he's NOT a girl. try to keep an open mind and you will probably be pleasantly surprised! boys love their mommies
I understand your disappointment. It can really be a blow when your heart and mind are set one gender, and that is not what you get. However, I PROMISE that eventually this will not matter to you. The individual personality of your child will end up mattering so much more than the child's sex. I have one of each (girl older) and thought I really wanted a second girl. But I am so thrilled to have a boy. If I had a third, I'd want another boy. anon
When I was pregnant with my son, I chose not to find out his gender. I had a preference for a girl, and I decided that the important work for me to do was to let go of this preference and accept the possibility I'd have a boy. Indeed, by the time he was born, I pretty much didn't care. And I even have to say that in the seven years since his birth, I have really come to deeply appreciate and love having a son. So... get to work on yourself, talk to parents of boys, hang around boy babies, get to know that little person kicking (or soon to be kicking) around inside of you as a boy, and know that there's lots of hope that you will be perfectly happy with a boy 20 more weeks from now! Anonymous
Your description of yourself fits me exactly (and I'm not a girlie girl either). When I found out my first child was a boy (I'd thought I'd wanted a girl) my first thought was ''what will I do with a boy?'' Answer: My boy is the BEST!!! he is now 7 and when I was pregnant with #2 I wanted another boy because he is so great. guess what, I got a girl. My first thought was (yes, go ahead and laugh), ''What do I do with a girl?'' She's here now, and she's the BEST too!!! My advice: create the family culture you want for your boy and screen out what you don't like. We ourselves don't have a t.v., keep pop culture/cartoon toys away from our boy, and feed his imagination...he's now a highly creative imaginative funny as heck sweet 7 year old. I know you will just love your boy. Love my boy (and girl)
I feel for you. I was convinced our second baby was going to be a girl, and when we saw it was another boy, I confess I was disappointed. It's okay to feel that way. I sort of went through a mini stages-of-grieving thing -- denial (''Maybe the amnio was wrong!''), anger (''It's not fair! Everyone else we know gets one of each gender!''), sadness (''I'll never get to buy those little flowered capri pants.''). But at the end of that process comes acceptance. You've got the rest of the pregnancy to deal with it, and when the little guy comes, you'll love him. I'm almost 2 years into the second kid now, and I can't imagine life or our family without him. Don't feel guilty about your feelings, and know that your baby will still be wonderful and loved when he gets here. (And boys, by the way, are a lot of fun. No flowered capri pants, but they have a wonderful energy, they love their moms, and they still like to do tea parties and a lot of other traditional ''girl'' stuff, at least when they're little.) Boys' Mama

Is it possible to choose the sex of a child?

Jan 2005

I've been hearing 'rumors' about being able to choose the sex of your child. Something to do with the male sperm swimming faster and dying sooner and the female sperm swimming slower and timing it all with the woman's ovulation. Has anyone tried this 'method' of choosing the sex and succeeded? I feel a little silly asking this question, but on the other hand, if it works, then why not give it a chance. curious


All of my friends were convinced that I was having a boy...based on when we conceived, how I was carrying the child, and every other possible old wives tale. Well it wasn't true but we are thrilled by the birth of our third beautiful girl! Lucky in Berkeley
We did buy the book Choosing the Sex of Your Child and did try it. By the time our ''girl'' was conceived the only part of the equation that was done according to the book was the time of conception which was prior to my ovulating. So it's hard to say if that was the reason, but we were hoping for a girl since we already had a boy and we got one. Good Luck! Tracey
I'm so glad you asked your question b/c I too want to choose the sex of my 3rd child. Here is what my obgyn's office(East Bay Obgyn - Dr. Chinn) told me... for a paltry fee of $250-300 they can spin my husbands sperm which ups my chances of having a girl into the 75% range. If I want a higher likelyhood of having a girl they told me options are to see a specialist in Los Angeles who can micro-sort sperm for a outrageous $18,000 and a 99% chance. I would love to hear if anyone on this list serve have spun sperm and what the results were. A want to be sperm spinner
My husband and I go to the UCSF Fertility Clinic. We asked them the same question. They don't currently offer sex preference but might sometime. They told us that doing this would lower the fertility rate a bit ( I guess because they are filtering out 1/2 of the sperm). Good luck, JM
i understand that you would love to be able to choose the sex of your child, though lots of people don't! we got lucky that our first child was the girl we both wanted. now, i'm ok with wathever comes next, though i'd rather have another girl. my accupuncturist swears that he can 'give you'what you want. he says he's been doing it for years and always (!) gets the desired result. it's hard to believe, but he's well know for infertility problems and specialists from Stanford reffer people to him all the time. there are dozen of thank you cards with baby photos on his office wall which tells me that people are happy with his services. i only go to him for back problems, but when i first told him i was pregnang with a girl he said ''next time if you want a boy, just ask me!'' he was also able to determine the sex of the baby before the ultrasounds just! by taking my pulse.... . his name is Dr. Chen and he practices in Oakland and in SF. his number is 510.655.2299. if you and your husband aren't affraid of a few needles it might be worth a try...! good luck. Diane

I have a boy, now I want a girl

Sept 2004

I have a wonderful, sweet baby boy who is almost 1. My husband and I want a second child but we both are really, really hoping it'll be a girl. I want a daughter, I want to raise a boy and a girl. With the first we hoped we'd have a girl, but it was fine that we had a boy--he's wonderful and we knew we'd have another. Now that we're planning for #2, I'm getting so scared that if it's another boy I'll be really disappointed and won't really love him as much. Yeah, it'll be cool to have two brothers--for them. But I want a daughter! 3 kids isn't an option so this is the last chance. Has anyone else been in this situation? Anyone else have a boy, hoped #2 would be a girl, and then have a boy? How did you feel? I'm also debating whether I should find out the gender before birth (to prepare myself) or if I don't find out, will I be just so excited that he's born/hopefully healthy that it won't matter? I know we're supposed to only want a ''healthy kid'' and be grateful for that, but I can't help it! I already feel guilty at times about wishing my son had been a girl...I don't want more guilt. And the last thing--did anyone try any of the tricks for conceiving a girl--and did they work? so much guilt


I really wanted a girl and have 2 wonerful boys. We tried the tricks...and obviously it didn't work for us. I decided to find out the sex in advance so that I would be fully prepared and would have had time to work out my disappointment. My boys are great friends. They play lego and playmobile and pretend games for hours on end together. I buy the cute dresses for my niece and my friends daughters. You'll be fine once the child you give birth to is there. good luck. Anon
I understand you. ''How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby'' by Landrum Shettles and David Rorvik worked for us twice (and for others I know three times). At least we think it did. Whether it was the method or luck, we got the desired result. Good luck. Pleased with two
I could have written your post about desiring a certain gender, but on the flip side...I have a boy and I really wanted another boy! When my son turned one in March, we decided to try again and my hope was to have a brother for him. Well, I'm pregnant again and at the 20 week ultrasound we found out it was a girl...it was really devastating to me, although my husband was thrilled. I had always imagined myself the mother of two, maybe even three boys! It was great for me to find out the sex of the baby, because I am just now finally getting excited about having a girl, and she deserves that! We may try for another child in the future...and honestly would probably try the Shettles Method. But, I am just truly grateful that we were able to conceive without a problem and that our son and future daughter are healthy, so I am counting my blessings, but understand the guilt for wanting a specific gender. Good luck and hope you have a healthy pregnancy! Jodi
Of course it's ok to have a preference for a child of a particular sex, though not everyone will empathize with you. If you really feel strongly that you want your second child to be a girl, you should consider MicroSort, which is the only procedure that works for gender selection (you can try Shettles, etc., but none of them have been actually proven to work, and most of them are nearly impossible to follow to the letter). It costs about $3-4K per attempt (which involves sorting a sperm sample from your husband and then using IUI to stick the sperm into your uterus). The catch is that, even if you are very fertile, it might take a number of attempts to get pregnant. If you do get pregnant from MicroSort, you have about a 90% chance of having a girl (so you still need to be prepared for the possibility of another boy). Got my girl by pure luck
I wanted a girl and had sperm sorted at the Microsort Division at the Fairfax cryobank. My daughter is 5, and I couldn't be more thrilled. She is my third. I too wanted a girl for my second and got another boy. I love science, and think it is a great tool in family planning. I would recommmend it to anyone who really needs or wants a particular sex. However, you will encounter those who characterize the desire for a daughter as trivial. Good luck. happy mother of two boys and a girl
I could have written your message myself. When I was pregnant with my first, we decided not to find out the sex. I didn't need to know because I already knew it would be a girl. I was confident in this belief, up until the moment when my husband looked me in the eye on the delivery table and said, ''It's a boy.'' I fell so deeply in love with my first that I often told people that his sex had become as irrelevant to me as the color of his hair. I couldn't have done anything to change him that would have made me love him more. And of course, I knew the next one would be a girl.

I followed the advice of a friend of mine who had already had a girl about how to get pregnant with a girl. I won't even bother repeating it for you because it didn't work for me. Here is the part where my advice begins: I strongly suggest you find out the sex of the baby in advance. I was very disappointed (for the same reasons you state) when I found out I was not having a girl. I needed time to process the information before the birth. At the moment of his birth, I was filled with joy and relief that he was healthy - not disappointment that he was not a girl.

Every once in a while, I'll see a girl in a cute outfit or something and I will feel a little pang, but other than that, I am over it. I'm not sure why you personally want a girl, but keep in mind that there are no guarantees. I thought a girl would be my friend forever, but you just never know. In the end, personality is everything. I hope that if you do end up with two boys, you will come to view it as a positive thing. Best of luck to you. Always Assumed I'd Have Girls


I could have written your message. My second child DID turn out to be another boy. In many ways I was very happy to have a healthy, cute baby boy, but I knew that by having two boys I would still always want a girl. Now I am faced with deciding whether we can afford(It's the Bay Area!) to have a 3rd child so I can have a chance at having a girl. If we do decide to have another baby, I will NOT leave it up to chance. I am running to my OB-Gyns, Dr. Rudd and Dr. Chinn (East Bay Ob-gyn) and having my husband's sperm spun for a mere $250.00 to increase my chances of having a girl. Doesn't sound very romantic, but I know that I would have to check myself into an asylum if I had a 3rd boy. The pang of wanting a girl has been too great all these years... Not another boy!

Third Baby - odds for another boy?

March 2003

We have two wonderful boys and we're considering a third child. I would be happy with a boy or a girl third time around - but I have heard anecdotally that ''statistically'' we'd most likely get a third boy. Is this true? Does anyone know the statistical probability (or any somewhat official information) of having the same gender three times over? Just curious while we're in the discussion phase. Thank you. anon


My friend's doctor told her that after having two boys, the odds were 70% that she would have another boy. Don't know if it is true or just hear-say. m
The odds of having a third boy are exactly what the odds were for having a boy the first time around -- which is pretty much 50/50 (it's not exactly 50/50, I believe a boy is slightly more likely, but the difference is miniscule). Many people get confused between the probability of having 3 boys (which happens in about 12.5% of families), and the probability of having your third child be a boy (which is 50%, regardless of what your other two kids are). These are different kinds of probabilities, calculated differently. Technically, the first is an unconditional probability, the second is a conditional probability. Karen
Last June, we were very surprised to have the nurse say ''it's a boy'' when our third child was born. Our two girls were 4 and nearly 7 when Bobby was born. My oldest really wanted another girl (she was concerned that we didn't have any boy clothes) and when her dad told her that the baby was a boy, she replied, ''Rats!'' Actually, as soon as she and her little sister saw the baby, it was love at first sight and nothing has changed 9 mos later.

Kids will adapt to what ever gender pattern they are thrown into. All boys, all girls and mixed up will all fight, play together and hopefully grow a bond that takes them into adulthood and binds them together when we parents are gone.

We've adjusted fine, but frankly, we really didn't have concerns about the gender mix. It was more about ''do we want two or three kids?'' for us.

Hope this helps with your decision. Three keep you busy but they are fun! Mom of two girls and a boy


Statistically, it's more likely that you will get pregnant with a boy, not because it's your third child, but because a slightly larger number of children conceived are boys. Leaving this aside, before you ever got pregnant you had close to a 1 in 8 chance that you would have 3 boys if you had 3 children. After having 2 boys, your chances now are close to 1 in 2 chances. anon
Statistically, you have a 50% chance of getting a boy OR a girl every time. It's as simple as which sperm (the X--makes a girl baby; or the Y-makes a boy) fertilizes the egg. michelle
When we gave birth to our second child the L & D nurse at Alta- Bates told me that if you already have two children of the same gender, there is an 80% chance your third will be the same gender. I realize that this defies logic (50/50 chance) but since then several other nurses & parents have ''confirmed'' it! Good luck with your decision. We're expecting our third this month :) ml
We had two daughters and when I became pregnant with my third child in 2000, I assumed we would probably have another girl, especially since my husband has another daughter from a previous marriage. However, when I got the results of my amnio, we discovered we were having a boy. I was very surprised and asked the genetics counselor about the issue of gender odds. She told me that there is no medical (or statistical) evidence supporting my assumption that we would have another girl. We know many three children families and there are just as many one sex sets of children as combinations. mom of 3
The answer to your question depends on whether or not the odds of conceiving a child of one sex or the other are completely random, or if there are biological factors which may predispose some couples to be more likely to produce a boy, and make others more likely to produce a girl. I just did a very quick Web search, and apparently there are medical researchers in both camps on the question of whether it's random or not.

If it's completely random, then the odds that your third child will be a boy are indeed 50%.

However, if it's not completely random, then the fact that you've already produced two boys may indicate that there are biological factors which are predisposing you and your husband to produce boys. If that's the case, then the odds that your third child is also a boy will be significantly higher than 50%

Anyway, since medical researchers seem to disagree on this, probably the safest thing to say is that the odds that this baby will be a boy are likely to be at least 50% -- could be higher, unlikely to be lower.

BTW, my parents had four girls in row before finally producing a boy. My father was so shocked he said he wasn't going to believe it till he saw the baby with his diaper off (this was before the days of ultrasounds and amnios) -- big sister to three girls and a boy


In reading the other postings to your question, I would like to add a slightly different perspective for the ''non-50:50'' crowd. I was reading a debate recently over whether one can use timing of intercourse with respect to ovulation to help select the gender of a baby. You've probably read about the more traditional ''X-chromosome sperm live longer, Y-chromosome sperm swim faster.'' A fertility specialist (sorry, I can't remember who) claims that the traditional idea about early intercourse increases the probability of a girl and intercourse right at ovulation increases the probability of a boy is not correct; from his work, he believes this timing is actually backwards. In either case, however, he goes into details about how the woman's cervix is positioned and what position intercourse is performed in, what the woman's particular biochemistry is (i.e., how acidic or basic her cervical fluid is) and how long sperm can survive in it can have an effect on the determining the gender of the baby conceived. There are also likely some differences in men's sperm and survivability, too. Thus, it sounds like there might be some room for when couples like to have sex with relation to ovulation, what position they have it in, and how long sperm tends to survive in vivo to send the odds of having a boy or a girl in one direction or another beyond a simple 50:50 ratio for a particular couple. These preferences and chemistries could be entirely unconscious, and could result in a couple being more likely to have a baby of a particular gender. Apparently, a number of health care workers agree, based on the other postings about a 70 to 80% chance of having a baby of the same gender of two older siblings. However, based on one other posting, it does sound like there is not unanimous agreement on the potential to slant the odds away from a simple 50:50 among doctors and nurses. anon

Having Boy #2- Was Hoping for Girl

Dec 2002

I have one boy and just found out I am pregnant with another boy. My husband and I feel strongly that we don't want to have more than two children. While I love my little boy more than I could have imagined, I find myself feeling disappointed that I will never have a daughter. It seems to me that the mother/daughter relationship is unique, and I'm sad I'll miss out on that. I'm interested in hearing from other moms who wanted girls but ended up with all boys. Did your disappointment over their gender affect your ability to bond with them? Did you get over it? Does anyone have boys who are grown, but still close to mom?


I was sure that my 2nd child was a girl....but, the results of the amnio said we're having another boy. I was a little disappointed becasue my mind had been set on a girl. I have a niece who lives far away and the few times I'd get to be with her were so much fun....buying clothes, doing girl stuff. I loved my boy baby though from the moment I knew he was a boy, all through the rest of my pregnancy and to this day (he's 7 1/2). Boys are great (not that girls aren't), but I know how to do boys...I'd already had 4 1/2 years of boy experience. I think that loving your baby boy will not be an issue for you and I'd be willing to bet that you will quickly get over your disappointment of not having a girl. And when they get to be pre-teens you'll count your blessings. I think (from my experience) that in general, boys are a lot easier going through pre-teens and teen years than girls. So don't throw away the trains and dinosaurs...enjoy! mom of 2 boys
Truth be told, I cried at the sonogram when they said I was having a second boy. I had often thought I wouldn't mind having 2 girls, or one of each, but not 2 boys! For ecological/overpopulation reasons we intend to stop at two, and it has been hard to resign myself to never having that special relationship. Hard, too, for my mother, who was itching for a granddaughter (this was grandson #5, and no more anticipated). Another thing I regret is that I grew up in a family of 4 (2 of each sex), and I think it is easier to have healthy dating relationships in the teen years when you have had a sibling of the opposite sex, and there isn't so much mystery about the other sex. But: barring my occasional fantasies about adopting or otherwise getting a girl in my family, I am resigned to it, and I adore my second son. There was no difficulty bonding with him, and I am learning to appreciate the advantages of a two- boy household (so much easier to hand down toys and clothes, so much potential for sibling play and closeness later). Like anything in life, you adjust your feelings to fit your circumstances. For example, I read the recent ''Barbie Thang'' posts on this newsletter with a sense of satisfaction that I will never have to field that one. And I walk through the pink taffeta/fairy wand/princess section of Toys R Us, not with longing, but with a shudder of relief at (presumably) never having to spend any time there. I wish you well. Enjoy your boy. Just me and the three men of the house
I totally feel for you because I experienced similar feelings when I found out I was expecting a second boy. My husband and I both wanted a girl the first time around. I vividly remember crying in the car in the parking lot outside the Alta Bates perinatal center after learning that I was expecting a second boy. My husband and I also were in agreement that we wanted only two children. We ended up naming our son Jesse, partly because this name could be both for a boy or a girl. We let his hair grow long and curly... The irony is that Jesse is such a boy's boy, into backhoes, motorcycles, bikes, baseball, etc. I've come to believe that boys are indeed different. I had a great sense of loss and grief to overcome, but I certainly ended up loving my son as much as I would have a girl. PS: we had an unplanned pregnancy and did have a girl three years after my second son ... who knows? b
I also have 2 boys, the youngest of whom is 4 yrs old. I still carry some sorrow that I do not have a girl, but it is lessened now that I am out of the hormonal madness of pregnancy and breastfeeding. I love my 2 boys, no problem with bonding. My brother is very close to my mother, more so that I am. I grieve that I will not have a girl, but I am getting used to the idea. It is not part of the path of life that was meant for me. I figure I can only nurture my boys, so that they can fully express their feminine and masculine sides. So I have no wisdom except that with time, it is easier to accept. Anon.
I experienced this same situation about 5 years ago. I was very disappointed to find I was having a second boy. I was glad I found out while I was still pregnant, so that I had time to come to terms with the situation and greet his birth with joy instead of disappointment. While I still experience a milder version of my original reaction in response to certain situations (mother-daughter events, seeing a girl in a particularly charming dress, thinking about someday maybe being a grandmother, a particularly good day with my own mother, etc.), I have found that several things have helped. One is getting to love and appreciate my younger son. (I talked to lots of friends to prepare for his birth, especially those of my parents' generation who were parents of only boys, to get the long-term view.) The second is refusing to buy into gender stereotypes -- for example, my fear that a boy will just never be as close and supportive to a mother as a girl would be. I do know adult sons who are very close to their mothers, and I intend to do my best to be one of those mothers. The third has been appreciating the advantages -- they can share a room; they share many of the same interests (especially those that seem to gender-associated) and therefore love to play together; I don't have to buy girls' clothes as well as boys'. And lastly, I try to take time to enjoy the other little girls (nieces, friends' daughters) who are in my life. mom of 2 boys
After boy number one, I was positive number two was going to be a girl, and was very surprised to see that penis on my new baby. I wouldn't let myself be disappointed, though I did think longingly about the girl I'd hoped for. But the two boys were so different in temperment, I hardly noticed they were the same gender and I soon forgot all about wanting a girl. Later we decided to adopt a third, and entered an adoption plan with a birth mother who was certain she was having a girl. I was delighted. Finally, my girl. guess what? a penis turned up on the ultrasound. Another boy! So now I am the mom of three boys, me who spent my entire childhood sewing clothes for Barbie and running the neighborhood doll hospital. But it turned out to be fun, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I've learned a lot of things I never knew anything about or even cared much for - all the names of the teenage mutant ninja turtles, what the difference is between a backhoe and a bulldozer, how to make a superman cape, how to pitch a baseball, how to play nintendo, how to keep score in a lacrosse game ... But the best really has been as they have gotten older. My oldest son, now 20, confides in me in a way that I never did with my mother. Not about everything of course, but I feel very close to him and I am not sure I would feel as close to a daughter who I might feel a little competitive with. My middle son at 17 has started to become very interested in the things I'm deeply interested in - music and food and movies - and it is so pleasurable to go out to eat with him or have a discussion about a movie. Both older boys have interesting, funny friends and they are also a joy to have around the house. The youngest boy is only a tot, but his exuberance and play with the big boys is a constant delight. Now I think, am I sorry I never had the chance to sew barbie clothes with a little girl? Truthfully I don't remember ever thinking about it at all, and now that do I think about it, I think, well, that would be nice, to have a girl, but I can't really imagine life without ALL of my boys, and as nice as it seems to have a girl, I don't really know what that is like, so I am sure it is much better to have boys! Ginger
I had similar feelings to what you described when having my second boy. For me, it turned out to be just not an issue at all in terms of bonding, happiness, or anything else. Now my younger one is 1-1/2, and my two little boys are the cutest most wonderful little beings I could imagine. Feelings I had about wanting that mother-daughter bond don't matter any more. My husband very much wanted a daughter, too, and it did take him much longer to bond with the second child than with the first, maybe partly because of disappointment over the second not being a girl. But now my husband and the second boy are very close also. I think my ideas about what I wanted just melted away when I actually saw my beautiful baby. Anonymous
Thanks to everyone for the great stories about having boys! I, too, was absolutely positive I would have a girl, and all my friends thought/presumed the same. Having a girl just seemed self-evident to everyone involved. When I saw that little penis on my boy at birth, it was a quite a shock. There was some sadness about not having the girl I thought I wanted, but the demands of being a new mother quickly overcame any sadness. In a discussion much later, someone said to me that, ''women who have boys are the only ones who can handle it.'' Now I relish the thought of helping to bring another feminist man into the world! Claire D.
I also was disappointed to find out at my ultrasound that my 2nd (and last) child was going to be a boy. But, knowing while still pregnant gave me time to wrap my mind around ''that's the way its going to be'' and now I can't imagine and wouldn't want anything different than my 2 boys (now 12 and 7). Their personalities are SO different but so delightful. With both I get into deep conversations and to my delight both boys are avid readers and I've been able to share my love for fantasy and adventure with my older child who STILL gives me hugs and kisses - even in PUBLIC. The younger is incredibly perceptive in a way that I wouldn't have associated with a boy until I had him. And then there ARE the pluses about just boys - It's great not having to deal with the ''hair'' thang every morning, the rather cruel girl ''posse'' thang that I see at certain ages, AND I get to be the queen bee in the house (yes, Mom's going shopping/girl's day out while Dad stays home with ''the boys''). When I need a ''girl'' fix, I have the 15 year old daughter of a good friend of mine to hang out with for awhile - and boy am I glad to give her back!! I get to LAUGH at her - her Mom finds it hard to find it funny just now. All this being said, it probably helps that I'm a gal that likes football, fantasy and adventure, and can deal with body function jokes and yes, contests...(and have learned to give as good as I get! :). Karen H.
I experienced this same situation about 5 years ago. I was very disappointed to find I was having a second boy. I was glad I found out while I was still pregnant, so that I had time to come to terms with the situation and greet his birth with joy instead of disappointment. While I still experience a milder version of my original reaction in response to certain situations (mother-daughter events, seeing a girl in a particularly charming dress, thinking about someday maybe being a grandmother, a particularly good day with my own mother, etc.), I have found that several things have helped. One is getting to love and appreciate my younger son. (I talked to lots of friends to prepare for his birth, especially those of my parents' generation who were parents of only boys, to get the long-term view.) The second is refusing to buy into gender stereotypes -- for example, my fear that a boy will just never be as close and supportive to a mother as a girl would be. I do know adult sons who are very close to their mothers, and I intend to do my best to be one of those mothers. The third has been appreciating the advantages -- they can share a room; they share many of the same interests (especially those that seem to gender-associated) and therefore love to play together; I don't have to buy girls' clothes as well as boys'. And lastly, I try to take time to enjoy the other little girls (nieces, friends' daughters) who are in my life. mom of 2 boys

What are the odds of #3 being another boy?

Nov 2001

We have two boys and would love to have another child. We have a preference for a girl (but a boy would be fine too) and are wondering if anyone is informed about research, statistics etc. that might favor one gender over another in a natural way. We have seen all sorts of plans that have to do with timing of conception etc. and, of course, there are also lots of "stories." What are the statistics on the gender of the thirs child if the first two are of the same gender? Are the "odds" still fifty-fifty? Any input would be apreciated.


Original question: "We have two boys and would love to have another child.... What are the statistics on the gender of the third child if the first two are of the same gender? "

Responses were split between those who say it's 50-50, and those who say biology matters. Read on ...


When receiving the amnio results on my third child, I was astonished to learn we were having a boy -- I think I had just assumed that, after 2 girls, we would be having a third girl! We had no preference for one sex over another. Just as a matter of curiousity, I asked the genetics counselor whether one is more likely to have a girl if you have had two or more already. Her response was "it's a roll of the dice each time." I might add that #3 was a surprise at age 42, so I have no information to pass on regarding timing and conception. Charlotte
Statistically speaking, it's as you say: it's fifty-fifty. It's an awful lot like flipping a coin -- if you flip a coin twice, the third throw doesn't "know" about the first two; it's an independent event. I too would be curious to know if there are any actual significant differences between kids & coins in this regard, due to the complexities of biology. (For example, I believe I read somewhere that human births are ever-so-slightly more likely to be female.)

Curiously, with four coin flips [or kids], it's more likely to have three of one and one of the other, rather than two and two -- that is, the odds of 3 boys & 1 girl -OR- 3 girls and 1 boy, together, are greater than the odds of 2 boys and 2 girls. Still, this has no bearing on any one event. -Greg


The odds are still 50-50, no matter what the sex ratio of the preceding children. NL Staub
The odds of any given flip of the coin never change. They are always 50-50. The same is true for kids. You can do the various things that you can always do (sex at a particular time in your cycle, douche with vinegar, whatever other "folk" methods you like...), but they are no more or less likely to affect the outcome than on try number 1 or 2. Statistical analysis does not apply to individual events, unfortunately, so already having two boys won't affect your chances of having a girl the next time. That said, the odds are actually not quite 50-50. I don't recall the exact figure, but there's a slight tip in favor of boy births. Apparently, the mortality rate for boys is higher than for girls. At some point in childhood or early adolescence it evens out, and then by old age of course, there are more women still alive than men. Just one of those weird things. Good luck! Dawn
The odds of having a girl or boy are always even (1:1), just like flipping a coin.

The odds of having three girls in a row are 1:8, or a probability of 0.125 (12.5%). The odds of four girls in a row are 1:16, or a probability of 0.063 (6.3%) Jesse


In response to #3 being another boy....The odds don't change; they remain 50/50 for every child. The only way to change those odds are to do artificial insemination after having your partner's sperm separated in a lab (which is not a guarantee, but helps). But, since you say having a boy would be OK too, then you are safe to try again and not be disappointed!
Based purely on statistics, it's definitely 50/50. Your previous draws in the lottery are irrelevant.

From a biological standpoint, it seems to me like - if anything - it would be worse. If for some reason, your partner's physiology favors the male gender (it's the male contribution that determines gender), you would be more likely to draw that again (though I've never really heard of anything like that). Peter


If you have two of the same gender in a row within three years, your odds of getting the same gender again go up to 85%. If you repeat the phenomena, it goes up to 87%. The reason relates to biochemistry.

You see... the thing is that boy sperm are faster but they are highly sensitive to changes in their environment. In other words, they can't handle an environment that is too hot or cold, Ph too high or too low. Girls on the other hand, chug along regardless of the conditions... but they move slower. If you produce all of one gender, there is a high likelyhood that the combination of your partner's sperm chemistry and your own personal bodily conditions produce either favorable conditions for boys (perfect everything to make them go zoom!) or girls (ugly chemistry that kills off the boys but lets the girls win the slow but steady race)


I was told that if a couple has two children of the same gender, there's actually an 80% chance that the third would be the same also. This is due to the chemical/biological dynamics of the parents. I don't have any statistics to back that claim up, though. I have two boys and had a girl the third time. I was fully prepared to be the mother of "My Three Sons" so I was actually quite surprised to "beat the odds", so to speak. While you prefer to have a daughter, it is best to enter a third pregnancy with the intention of having a healthy baby, which you are feeling anyway.

One thing to be prepared to deal with is the bombardment of questions and comments on whether you and your spouse were trying for a girl. And if it's a boy, if you are disappointed or if a girl, if you hit the jackpot. I was offended by these rudely personal comments that were coming from friends, family and strangers. I never felt like I hit the jackpot with my little girl. I felt I hit the jackpot three times with three fine children. Best wishes.


Sadness about having another boy

Feb 2000

I want to get some advice from people who have two (or more) boys. I have one and have just found out that my second will also be a boy. I'm embarrased to admit it, but I find myself feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness about it. My childhood fantasy of having a little girl will never happen. (I don't want more than two children, so people saying I could always have another doesn't help.) My questions are: did anyone have similar feelings, and, if so, how did you deal with it?; is raising two boys (2 1/2 years apart) as scary as it seems?; do you still feel a sense of loss as they grow up, feeling like you missed out on a unique relationship you will never have? Thanks so much for your response.


Regarding raising boys: If your image of child raising was centered around a daughter, it will certainly feel disappointing at first to know you won't fulfill that image. But please, please allow yourself to enjoy your two boys. Share your interests, joys, and thoughts with them from an early age, and you will find that as they grow up you will have young men with whom you have much to share. As for the things you looked forward to with a girl that your boys might not want to do, take time to enjoy and build a special relationship with a niece or friend's daughter. She probably won't spend all her time at age 12 criticizing your looks and social behavior! Really, a healthy child is a blessing, so don't let your sadness over not having a daughter keep you from enjoying your sons!
This is in response to advice wanted: raising boys. I am the mother of two boys (now 21 and 17) who experienced the same feelings of loss when I found that my much wanted girl was not to be. I even wore maternity tops with girl names on!. I shared my feelings with my sister and friends and I became the unofficial mom of my nieces and every girlfriend's daughters. I still tend to adopt my friend's girls (with their approval of course). However, I do want to tell you that those feelings will pass and that you'll learn to treasure their malehood. My boys were 3 1/2 years apart. My husband and I separated when my youngest was barely a year old. I will always treasure seeing my 6 year-old "teaching" his little brother how to eat spaguetti the "fun" way, taught him how to ride a tricycle, helped him with his swimming lessons and baseball and showed him how to spell. He told kids at the little league park not to be mean to his little brother. He read to him and to this day, when he calls home, one of the first things he asks, is how is the squirt doing, Mom? I couldn't imagine my life without those two wonderful, often rambunctious but always loving boys. I cherish the thought that I had a hand in training two terrific men, that hopefully will have a lot to offer to their loved ones. I wish the same great experience to you.
my first child was a boy, and i just knew my second would be a girl. i was told of the possibility of my second child being a boy just a week or so before he was born (by the heartbeat). i was disappointed for we planned on stopping at two children, and i wanted one of each. i remember looking at my second son in the hospital, wondering if i could ever love him as much as my first son. that was the last time that thought ever came to me.

my boys are 16 months apart. they are now 18 and 20 years old. i can't imagine why i wanted a girl -- the two boys have been so much fun! maybe i just don't know what i'm missing, but i can't imagine it getting any better!


I too always had childhood fantasies about having a girl. With both of my pregnancies I was convinced I was having girls until the ultra-sound told otherwise. Both times I cried and was depressed for weeks. When I had my children, of course I loved them deeply, but I still sometimes think about what it would be like to have a girl.

My boys are 21 months apart, ages 4 & 6. They are both very energetic. They play well together (for the most part) and are very close. And I feel very grateful to have them. sometimes it is difficult dealing with all that male energy--especially as a single mom. The one thing I often notice in their dynamic is that the younger one is often overshadowed by the older one, as the eldest is, of course, more capable at doing things like Lego's etc. So I have to work hard to engage the younger one in activities that help nurture his self-confidence.

I don't know if the desire for a daughter will ever go away. I still think that if I'm in the right situation at some point I may try a third time (but isn't that how so many families end up w/ 3 boys?). But I do know that my children and I have a very strong bond, and I have the sense that they will always be there for me, as I for them.


To respond to your request about boys I just wanted to say that I had simular feelings when I had my first boy I really wanted a girl and was really disappointed that I didn't have one for a while. But my sister was not able to take care of the twins she was pregnant with so we subsequently adopted twin boys and have since felt that I will won't have any more. BUT I wanted to let you know that boys while hard a first, turn out to be the most wonderful, sweet beings in the world! I can't tell you enough how I have changed my tune. I am so glad I have three of them. As they get older (teenager) it is a little scary in the sense that they grow up so fast and it's hard to feel like you're in control of what is going on with their lives. . .social and educationally but still a joy to watch and be around. My boys are care takers of me and others around them. Not to say that it is easy, but since reading some books and RELAXING I have really learned to enjoy thier world and the way they express love and happiness. I also have to say that having a level-headed partner really helps as I am very emotional and will often over-react and he helps to calm everyone down and bring everything back to perspective I would recommend getting age appropriate books to help you understand what they are going through. Good luck and enjoy them! Call if you like -- Elizabeth
I felt just what you described when I learned my second child was going to be a boy. I was thrilled that he was alive and well (after two miscarriages), but sad that I would never have a daughter. Like you, I did not consider a third child an option, so this was it. It took a few weeks to get over the mourning for what I had lost, and I was glad that I learned his gender before he was born so I could work all that out before he came. By the time he arrived, I was utterly unambivalent and thrilled that we had him. The testosterone levels in my house are wild sometimes, with boys 8 and 4, and I often am at a loss to understand how boys relate to the world. I occasionally get pangs when I walk by the adorable girl clothes in the store, and lavish all kinds of cute things I never thought I'd buy on my niece. But I wouldn't trade my boys for anyone, and never wistfully wish for some unknown little girl.
I also have two boys, who were born two years apart. I had hoped that my second child would be a girl, and when I found out at the ultrasound that it would be a boy, I was sad, and remained sad about it for several days. After a few days, though, I started thinking about the advantages of having two children of the same sex--the practical advantages, such as lots of hand-me-downs, and also the emotional advantages to them of having a brother close in age. By the time my second son was born, I was enthusiastic about the idea of having two boys, and I'm even more enthusiastic now. They're three and five years old now and, when they're not fighting over toys, they're the best of friends. They have a lot of interests in common and enjoy each others' company tremendously, and I get huge joy from watching their relationship as brothers develop. So while I think your feelings of sadness are natural, my experience is that a family of boys can be very fulfilling.
I have 2 boys who only have boy cousins on both sides (and my husband only has boys in his family).

In my dreams, I would have enjoyed raising a girl and a boy (but of course would not trade either of my sons for any other child at this time.) I have also imagined that it would be nice for my sons to have a sister so that girls/women would not be such a mystery in adolescence and later.

However, from my sons' perspectives, having a brother is the greatest gift I could have given them - to be able to share and learn together as brothers is a wonder to behold. Even though they have very different interests, I believe their friendship will continue to grow through life. I would encourage you to focus on your child's point of view (I'm sure you've heard this one before, so I won't belabor the point!)

In an attempt to lower the "testosterone levels" at home and to broaden their perspectives, I have made an effort to foster my sons' friendships with some girl playmates (its also a way for me to get a girl-fix). And it's been a revelation to me to see how much less challenging my sons are to raise for their mothers than their fiery-willed girl pals!

One last comment: my sister is now expecting her third son - she and her husband are greatly disappointed to have yet another boy in the family. I certainly understand her disappointment, but sadly she has let her desire for a girl be known in her family so that her two older sons are keenly aware how much mommy and daddy wanted a girl. She forgot how easily kids pick up on everything (sometimes blowing it up even bigger in their heads), so now she's having to make a major effort to assure her sons that it isn't their fault that they aren't girls! Good luck.


Admittedly, I don't have sons, but I understand VERY well your desire for a daughter, and I hope you're working your way through your pain and regret without lapsing into guilt over it.

Every one of my child-bearing friends, with a single exception, has admitted to wanting a girl. It doesn't mean that we're bad people or hate men or don't love all our children. I like to think it does mean that we're proud of being women and eager to bring a daughter into a family that will treasure her.

Perhaps there's a support group out there to talk to. If not, it might be worth while to organize your own. (The Express and Parents' Press run all sorts of support group ads in their classifieds pages.) Best of luck to you.


Just wanted to add my 2 cents on this since I have three boys. I too, felt guilty about those kinds of feelings, I had them after my third boy. I wanted to have a girl so much we even considered adoption, but my husband couldn't get past his issues about it. I've come to accept that since it wasn't meant to be I am looking forward to my sons getting married and perhaps having a granddaughter to shower with gifts and affection (or grandsons!)
My second son was born 6 months ago. I love my two boys, but I still feel a certain amount of grief for the girl that I will never have. When a friend finds out she is pregnant with a girl, I feel some jealousy. I feel that I need to explore this feeling of loss and sadness and accept that I have it and hopefully with time, I will be able to let it go.
I am the mother of three boys ages 10, 7, and 2. I have watched myself undergo incredible growth and transformation over the past decade as I first learned to love and accept a child not of my gender, and then when my second son arrived, accepting that I might not have a child of my own gender, and enjoying having arrived at resolution when I anticipated my third son with eagerness. Of course all parents "love" their children, but I found that I needed to cast off some of my narrow and more controlling female traits to come to also love my children's "boyness." There were times when it felt very hard to broaden my views and values and I still catch myself sometimes.

There are a collection of recent books about raising boys that I have found very enlightening to read. My favorite is "Real Boys" by William Pollard. The author describes several prevalent myths (in our country) about boys, one being that boys are viewed as "toxic." He talks about both the unfoundedness of the myth but also of how boys suffer from their teachers, parents, relatives, parents of friends, and the public in general acting on the assumption that there is categorically something hard, bad and/or uncivilized about boys. I was interested to read the comment that contrasted with some curiosity the exalting of girls in this conversation to the valuing of boys in some other cultures. It made me wonder if this conversation had been about girls whether it would have evoked a very different response (in our current social and cultural context).

I am not exaggerating when I say that a week has not gone by (since I have had 3 sons) where I have not received at least one comment (and sometimes multiple), often delivered with a tone of sympathy or even an edge of horror about having "three boys!!!" This is often followed by a comment about whether I am going to keep trying for a girl (as if I had been or as if we are deficient without). Strangers on the street say it to me; people I've just met say it; some of my long term friends and colleagues say it repeatedly. My current personal challenge, is not one of accepting and loving my boys and their behaviors that are different from my female behaviors, but of gracefully receiving the continual barrage of incredulous comments about my cherished family. I try my hardest to respond positively to this tiresome (undoubtedly well-meaning) comment, but find myself irritated when people judge my situation and children in this way--usually in front of them! One day my 10 year old asked me whether there was something wrong with boys.

Ten years ago I might also have made a comment like that, with the very best of intentions. I believe it is challenging to know and accept and value the traits of the "other gender." As mothers, we understand girlness in a way we don't understand boyness. As the mother of three boys, I feel that I have been given the opportunity to become a more open and accepting person than I would have if I had not had to confront my own assumptions and limits.

Finally, plenty of people have said it, but I must add that my three boys are incredibly wonderful, sweet, and caring, and while they are very different from one another, they all love to read, do artwork, play music, and do "projects," --perhaps because those are the activities that I love and bring to our family's life. (They also love to cook and do sports--the things their father brings to them.) We couldn't be happier.


"There are a collection of recent books about raising boys that I have found very enlightening to read. My favorite is "Real Boys" by William Pollard."

I believe the author is Willam Pollack. I am also familiar with his book and recommend it too. It makes a strong case for boys not detaching from mothers around age five out because of social expectations, and shows through interviews how hard it is to be a teenage boy in that too often the only socially accpetable emotion for him is anger.


Have you tried Materna S.A.?

Jan 2003

Last fall there was a question about methods for influencing gender when getting pregnant. A couple of people posted that they had tried the Materna S.A. polarity cycle method but didn't know yet whether they were successful. Has anyone tried this method? Did it work for you? Just wondering if the reported 90% succes rate is for real.


Regarding the question about Materna S.A. (aka birthchoice.com etc) and the egg polarity ''theory'' I'd like to post this link. My wife and I were researching this subject and it looks pretty fishy and bogus. http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff34674.htm anon

Timing conception to conceive a boy or a girl?

Oct 2002

Can anyone provide information on timing conception so that you conceive a boy or a girl? Also, does anyone know of any good books on the subject?


As our preschooler says, ''You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit!'' That being said, think about it. There are literally billions of sperm, and only one can fertilize the egg. The common thought is that ''girl'' sperm live longer, but that ''boy'' sperm swim faster. Thus, if you fertilize the egg early in your cycle, you have a higher chance of having a girl, because the sperm has longer to travel to get to the egg (thus, the longer- living sperm has a better chance). THAT BEING SAID: I think that this is absolutely ridiculous. My in-laws (both educated people, one is a doctor) had three girls and tried a fourth time for a boy (using the technique). Guess what? They had another girl. We had neighbors once who had seven girls. They finally tried one more time for a boy and had...another girl. I don't think any technique really works, because of the incredible number of sperm involved. Anyway, good luck trying! Mom of two girls!
Check out ''How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby'' by Dr. Shettles. Who knows if it works--but I'll let you know in 10 weeks. anon
I researched this thoroughly before trying to conceive, because we really wanted a girl. Unfortunately, timing conception has not been found to have any effect on the sex of the baby. The most popular timing method, Shettles, is based on the appealingly anthropomorphic, but unfortunately fictictious, idea that Y sperm (the ones that make boys) are faster but shorter-lived, while X sperm are slower but more long-lasting. My web searches turned up a scientific paper that conclusively disproved this theory (I wish I'd saved a link to it). Another blow was finding out that the *second* most popular conception-timing method was the opposite of Shettles'. Shettles says to have sex well before ovulation to conceive a girl, and close to ovulation to conceive a boy, but the other author (who also claimed good success rates) suggests the opposite.

There *is* a method that can help you conceive the sex of your choice, but it is quite expensive, and the success rates are only about 90%. The sperm can be sorted to separate the Xs from the Ys, and then used for artificial insemination. (See, for example, http://www.microsort.net/) I don't know of any clinics in the Bay area that do this--you'd probably have to fly somewhere, and then spend at least $1000, and you might not get pregnant, and if you do, the baby might not be the sex you want. Daughterless in Berkeley


Materna S.A. out of Switzerland offers a plan that will allow you to choose the gender of your baby with 90% certainty, based on 20 years of data. The method is based on the women's predictable polarity cycle meaning that during certain times of your cycle the ovum will attract male or female sperm (harnessing nature's way)...something like that. You can go online, I think at either babychoice.com, or maternasa.com and order a conception calendar for $365 for one year. It will tell you the favorable days for conceiving the gender of your choice. We are currently trying for a girl so I can't tell you yet of our success. But read the research carefully and see what you think. Of course, be absolutely CERTAIN that you want a child, regardless of the gender, not so much child of a certain gender! Good luck. anon
None of the ''natural'' approaches to conceiving with gender choice in mind have been shown to work (including timing, positions, etc.) I have a dear friend who had a boy, and wanting a girl, followed the instructions of a book which claimed to show you how to have the gender you wanted. She had sex upside down under a full moon (or whatever was guaranteed to produce a girl) and..ended up with twin boys. She tried again with another book and ended up with another boy. Now, with 4 boys, she's quit trying!

On the other hand, sperm-sorting methods (which you can't do at home!) have a higher probability of working. People may use these methods if they are concerned about a genetically transmitted problem on the X chromoson, for example. And some people use this if they are desperate to increase their chances of a particular gender. But no method, short of the appalling method of selective gender abortion, is fool-proof. Hopefully you will be happy with either gender, regardless of preference! There's nothing like knowing that you're not the boy your father always wanted (which is what a friend of mine, from a family of five girls, always felt!)I kind of thought I wanted one girl, one boy, but when I ended up with two girls I became convinced of all the positive aspects of two kids of the same gender. As my youngest daughter learned to say in kindergarten, ''you get what you get!'' Natasha B.


''Taking Charge of Your Fertility,'' by Toni Weschler, has a chapter about ''Choosing the Sex of Your Baby.'' She seems to summarize the Shettle method mentioned by others in previous responses. I've also heard that gender can be affected by the balance of acids/bases in the diet. robin
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