Have The Child Of Your Choice

by Dr. Huiping (Lisa) Zhao, M.Sc., C.M.D.

Pre-selection of the sex of a planned child is of interest to many parents, either from a family planning or a disease prevention perspective. For example, certain male children may be affected by a number of X-linked genetic defects. Among the more common are hemophilia, Cooly's anemia, glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase deficiency, several types of muscular dystrophy, and retinitis pigmentosa.

The desire to control the sex of a planned child is as old as recorded history. Every folk culture has its own techniques. If a couple wants a boy, they have the following choices: to wait until the wind is in the north, to hang their trousers on the right side of the bed, to put boots on, to bite the wife's right ear, to ingest dried rabbit genital, or to wait on even days to have intercourse or vice versa.

More currently, different methods for sex preselection are suggested, and these can be divided into three general groups:

1. Dietary Method

Animal studies have suggested that variations in the relative concentrations of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium may affect the sex ratio. For instance. when potassium was increased in diet, 70% of offspring were males, and when calcium/magnesium was increased, 70% of offspring were female.

2. In Vivo Methods

These methods are designed to produce conditions optimum for fertilization be either X-bearing or Y-bearing sperm. Timing of intercourse is one of these methods, and is based on the size difference of sperm and change of the cervical mucus. About 70% of parents had the child they wanted by using this method alone.

3. In Vitro Methods

These methods are designed to enrich semen into either X- or Y bearing sperm by separating them based on difference in density, surface charge, and antigenicity of the sperm. Techniques such as electrophoresis, gel filtration centrifugation, and flow fractionation have been used to take advantage of these differences. Lately, DNA hybridization has been used to select embryos of a particular sex before they are implanted in women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

These methods are very costly and time-consuming. Sometimes they are combined with medications which have unwanted side effects.

Chinese herbal medicine has its unique value in helping parents to preselect the sex of their child. It is entirely natural, non invasive, and has no side effects. Once a decision has been made by the parents, herbal medicine is prescribed to support the proper situation for one articular sperm to fertilize the egg.

This method includes prescription of herbal teas to drink, herbal solutions to use in the bath, for both prospective parents, and advice on timing of intercourse. This method is completely effective if followed carefully.

While there is an element of mystery and anticipation in leaving the sex of one's child entirely to nature, there will always be circumstances where this is not advisable. It is reassuring to know that Chinese herbal medicine offers a safe alternative to conventional medical treatments.

Huiping (Lisa) Zhao, M.Sci., C.M.D. is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist.

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