What Is a Chinese Gender Predictor Chart?

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Once you find out you are pregnant, your mind is likely filled with all types of questions about your baby including their eye color, hair color, and which parent they will most resemble. You may even be curious about your baby's assigned sex at birth. In fact, research indicates the majority of pregnant people in the U.S.—as many as 60%—want to know their baby's sex before delivery.

"Pregnancy is full of unknowns, including many questions that are unlikely to be answered until after the baby is born, but one thing parents-to-be can learn about their baby early in pregnancy is the biological sex," says Kelly Miller, MS, LCGC, a licensed certified genetic counselor with Juno Diagnostics. "For many families, learning the baby’s sex helps them feel connected to the pregnancy and prepared for what comes next."

Because waiting for that second-trimester ultrasound—usually around 18 to 21 weeks—can be a challenge, it is not surprising that many parents look to other ways to predict whether they are having a girl or boy. While not always accurate, online gender predictors, folklore, and even old wives' tales can be a fun way to attempt to predict your baby's sex.

The Chinese gender predictor chart is one popular online tool expectant parents have fun using. If you have seen this gender predictor online and want to know more about where it originated and how it is used, keep reading. We also explore how accurate it is as well as other more reliable ways to predict your baby's sex.

Difference Between Sex and Gender

It is important to note that sex and gender are not the same thing. For instance, biological or assigned sex is how a medical professional describes your baby at birth. Their sex relates to their biology, anatomy, and chromosomes. Gender often describes how the person identifies themself. In other words, a person may identify as male, female, or somewhere in between, regardless of their biological sex.

History Behind Chinese Gender Predictors 

Chinese gender predictor charts were reportedly discovered in a royal tomb in Beijing more than 700 years ago. Today, the original chart is displayed at the Beijing Institute of Science. According to Chinese folklore, the first Chinese gender predictor charts were used to help families not only predict a baby's sex, but also to help people engage in family planning.

Historically, some families in China preferred males over females because the male babies could grow up to be soldiers and farmers, as well as carry on the family name, while female babies married and had children. If a family was not expecting children at the moment, they could use the chart to try to determine the best time to conceive in order to try to have a baby of a particular sex.

"The history behind the Chinese gender predictor is unclear, but it is believed to have been used in ancient China as a way of predicting the sex of a baby," says Matthias Dettmann, MSc, a psychologist who does pregnancy counseling and incorporates eastern traditions into his practice.

How Do Chinese Gender Predictors Work?

The Chinese gender prediction charts utilize the lunar calendar for their results. Using the month of conception along with the age of the pregnant person at the time of conception (or their lunar age), a formula is used to determine whether the baby is likely to be a boy or a girl.

Another explanation for the way in which these predication charts work is based on the idea that the pregnant person's hormones change from lunar month to lunar month, either becoming more acidic or alkali at various times. According to Chinese folklore, these changes can influence which sperm are chosen during reproduction. This, in turn, is believed to influence the sex of the baby.

"Some believe Chinese gender predictors to be a fun and entertaining tool, while others view it with skepticism," explains Dettmann. "It is important to note that there is no scientific evidence to support its [use], and that the only sure way to determine the sex of a baby is through medical testing."

Are Chinese Gender Predictors Accurate?

For some parents, it is hard to wait to find out the sex of their baby. Knowing this information may help them decide what names to select or how to decorate their nursery, but it also can help the pregnancy feel "real," says Miller. That said, the best way to get those results may not be Chinese gender predictors.

Even though some sources claim Chinese gender predictors are 93% to 99% accurate, research shows that they are actually no better than a coin toss. In fact, one of the most accurate ways to determine your baby's sex is through DNA testing, says Amir Marashi, MD, FACOG, FACS, a board-certified OB/GYN.

"Accuracy depends on the method," Dr. Marashi says. "For instance, ultrasound scan accuracy depends on sonographer training, but at most reputable facilities, this is very accurate. We can also do a blood test on the mother, this is called a cell-free DNA test which is 95-99% accurate."

The Science of Predicting Your Baby's Sex

The most reliable methods of fetal sex prediction are those which examine genetic material from biological tissues of the baby, placenta, or placental precursors, says Katie Sagaser, MS, LCGC, a licensed clinical genetic counselor and director of genetic counseling at Juno Diagnostics. For the majority of expecting parents who want to know their baby’s sex, that method will take the form of prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening.

"cfDNA screening for fetal sex is technically possible as early as six or seven weeks gestation," Sagaser says. "These methods are safe, well-studied, and very reliable. For example, with the JunoDx Birch test and its protocol for at-home sample collection...patients can expect greater than 99% accuracy."

Other ways of finding out a baby’s sex include chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis. These tests examine whole, intact chromosomes from multiple cells of the pregnancy, and can confirm whether the pregnancy has the expected amount of genetic material, Sagaser adds.

"Since both CVS and amniocentesis are invasive medical procedures, carrying a small—but not insignificant—chance for pregnancy loss, it’s pretty uncommon for a pregnant person to have a CVS or amniocentesis solely to learn fetal sex information," she says.

Keep in mind, too, there are limitations to every method of fetal sex prediction. Even prenatal ultrasound isn’t perfect, despite being the most common method for fetal sex prediction in the past two decades, Sagaser says.

"It’s important to consider what’s most important to you when making a decision about learning the sex of your baby," she says. "How, when, and where you learn may all make a lasting impact on your memory of this special early bonding experience, should you choose to learn before birth."

As for using a Chinese gender predictor chart, it can be an entertaining way to guess whether your little one is a boy or a girl. But keep in mind, these charts are not based on science, so you should not put a great deal of stock in their results.

If you want to find out your baby’s sex for sure, talk to your healthcare provider about your options. Of course, you can always just wait and be surprised, too. There is nothing wrong with waiting until your baby is born to discover their sex.

6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Sherri Gordon
Sherri Gordon, CLC is a published author, certified professional life coach, and bullying prevention expert.