Choose the Sex of Your Baby
by Hazel Phillips
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Choose the Sex of Your Baby / 978-0-7475-3313-9
The crux of this book boils down to the theory that there are girl-making sperm (XS here, for short) and boy-making sperm (YS) and that the XS are built for endurance whereas the YS are built for speed. So, therefore, if you want to choose the sex of your baby, you should game the system in favor towards the sperm you want. This 'gaming' of the system takes place in several rudimentary ways, but most notably:
1. Timing of intercourse to favor XS (before ovulation) or YS (on or after ovulation).
2. Changing total sperm count (down for XS, up for YS) via temperature control (heat decreases count, cold increases count).
Unfortunately, that's pretty much the entirety of the book's content. The rest of the ~200 pages are taken up with one or more of the following:
a. Anecdotal evidence, often coupled with glowing letters of praise for Ms. Phillips.
b. Questionable science, which can forgiven because this is a very old book - a reprint of an old book, to be exact - but that doesn't make it particularly helpful for the here and now.
c. Exhortations to carefully plan family size and to not get too depressed if the timing method doesn't yield the desired results.
I am disappointed in this book largely because I really don't care to wade through over 100 pages of letters with anecdotal evidence - I'd prefer a smaller book if Ms. Phillips really doesn't have much more to say on her theory. She admits to knowing almost nothing in terms of the science behind her theory - just that it 'makes sense' - and she has only personally used her method once herself, so the anecdotal evidence from friends, family, and people who wrote in from reading the book is pretty much all she has to hang her hat on. Unfortunately, anecdotal letter evidence is a poor indicator of success, as any first-year psychology student could tell you, because it's a self-selected group - for every one person who wrote in happily, there could have been ten people for whom the method didn't work who didn't bother to write in because it wasn't worth their time and effort.
Once you strip away all the letters and anecdotal evidence, you're left with the fairly short theory outlined above. To be fair, Ms. Phillips does go a little farther into detail, including ovulation charts and examples of good XS/YS days, but I was hoping for a more fleshed out theory than was provided. If the timing method works perfectly, then I suppose there is no point in asking for more theories or details, but at the same time, it is reasonable that the couple might want to maximize their chances as much as possible. Why no serious discussion, then, of diet and the changes it might have on sperm count in the man or acidity levels in the woman? Ms. Phillips barely touches on a potential diet for the woman (Calcium and Magnesium for girl babies, Sodium and Potassium for boy babies), but the section is less than two pages long and feels very shallow. Because this is an older book, she also touches on the subject of douching and while she does recommend against it, she fails to note that douching can be dangerous because it removes beneficial bacteria. I don't really fault the book for this omission, but I did want to mention it here as many gender-choosing books mention douches without mentioning the dangerous side-effects.
In sum, this book is something of a one-trick pony and while the timing method may very well work perfectly, it would be preferable, in my opinion, to include a touch of actual science instead of reams of self-selected anecdotes. As is, most of this information can be found online at this point, so I really wouldn't recommend spending your money on this book - check it out at the library, if you must.
~ Ana Mardoll
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