Can Parents Choose the Sex of Their Baby?


  • Landrum B. Shettles M.D., Ph.D,

    1. Landrum B. Shettles, M.D., Ph.D. is the Director of Research at the New York Fertility Research Foundation.
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  • Raymond L. Vande Wiele M.D.

    1. Raymond L. Vande Wiele, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. is Professor and Chairman of the Obstetrical and Gynecological Service at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.
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  • These papers are reprinted with permission from the Collected Letters of the International Correspondence Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Series XIV 1973, pages 141–4.


On April 21, 1970 an article appeared in LOOK Magazine reporting that patients could sometimes predetermine the sex of their offspring by using acid or alkaline douches, timing coitus and manipulating the cervical milieu. Subsequently, the doctor quoted in the article, Landrum B. Shettles, wrote a book titled Your Baby's Sex–Now You Can Choose, in which various procedures were outlined. Dr. Shettles' evidence for precoital sex determination has been widely disputed, however. Some of the aspects of the controversy may be clarified by the following papers.