The following article was written by James Tozer and printed in the Daily Mail newspaper.
WHY GREENS MEANS GIRLS FOR WOULD-BE MOTHERS
Women trying to conceive can increase their chances of giving birth to a girl by eating more fruit and vegetables, according to scientists.
They found that consuming food with high levels of calcium and magnesium, such as green vegetables, in the weeks before conception is likely to result in a daughter.
Of a group of women who followed a diet drawn up by the researchers, 80 per cent went on to have daughters.
By contrast, foods rich in potassium and sodium – such as bananas and potatoes – would be likely to help women who want to have sons, although this has yet to be tested.
The Dutch scientists are convinced that following the right diet can help couples increase their chances of choosing the sex of their child, although they don’t know the exact role played by other factors such as the timing of conception.
They spent five years working with 172 couples, all of whom wanted to add girls to their families – between them they already had 358 sons and just two daughters.
Each began a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and rice in the nine weeks before they planned to attempt to conceive to increase the levels of calcium and magnesium in their bloodstream. In addition, they were given daily tablets of the key minerals, had regular blood monitoring and had to learn as accurately as possible their moment of peak fertility each month.
At the end of the trial, reported in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online, out of 32 couples who completed the programme, 26 mothers gave birth to girls and only six had boys.
‘People now know that if they do everything we have suggested, their chances of having a girl will improve dramatically,’ said Annet Noorlander, a biologist with the firm Gender Consult. ‘This method is experimental, but we have proved it works.’
Her company carried out the research with teams from Delft and Maastricht Universities. While the sex of a child is determined by the type of sperm that fertilises the mother’s egg, it is thought that the mineral content of the prospective father’s blood has no effect on which it will be.
Scientists believe that mineral levels in a would-be mother’s blood make her more receptive to either sperm bearing XX chromosomes which lead to girls, or XY sperm.
Because sperm with female chromosomes takes longer to reach the egg than that carrying male ones, the couples were also told to have sex three or four days before ovulation to further boost their chances of conceiving a girl.