The Whelan Method of Sex Selection

How to Have a Boy or Girl Using the Whelan Method

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Plenty of people would like to be able to have a say in the sex of their next baby. This means determining that your future baby will be a girl or a boy, rather than leaving it up to chance. The reasons that people give for wanting to choose one over the other vary just as much as the people in the conversations vary. That said, this is something we have been trying to harness for years. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is no different in her pursuit of the magical formula to have a girl instead of a boy or vice versa.

Elizabeth Whelan, Sc.D. developed this home based method of sex selection for couples to try. It is based on timing of ovulation in relation to sexual intercourse. This is an all natural method of sex selection that can be done at home without medical help. All you need to is to be able to accurately tell when you are ovulating using basal body temperatures (BBT or sympto-thermal methods) and count on a calendar.

When Do You Have Sex?

With the Whelan Method, you are to have sex four to six days before your temperature rises, indicating ovulation, if you would like to have a baby boy. If you would prefer a girl, wait until two to three days before ovulation to have sex. Whelan based this on a study of 1,300 women charting their temperatures done by Dr. Rodrigo Guerrero. This was not her own work but rather based on this data. (Lots of work is done this way, but it is worth pointing that out.)

Her work, however, was based on couples who were undergoing artificial insemination. So this may hinder how accurate it is for couples using the method at home. Her results are that 68% of those trying for a boy had a boy and 57% trying for a girl had a girl - using good old fashioned sex. This is still better than the odds of just having sex and waiting to see what happens.

If you leave it up to chance, well, those odds are 51% likely to have a boy and 49% for a girl.

Shettles Versus Whelan

According to this method, and the book giving more details about its origins and workings, Boy or Girl?,  the success rate for having a girl is 57%. There is a slightly higher success rate for having a baby boy with 65% of the time people conceiving a boy. This method is in direct opposition to the Shettles Method. In fact, there are several pages in Dr. Shettles' book talking about the Whelan Method.

You can assume that Dr. Shettles was not fond of Dr. Whelan's method nor of her ideas. He actually spent time attacking her ideas within his own pages. The Shettles Method is certainly more well known, which means that more women are likely to use his techniques. This may account for at least some of the numbers he has over Whelan. Though both have the issue with self-reported data in their participants. It's certainly not one for randomized controlled trials.

In the end, if you absolutely have to have one or the other, none of the at-home methods are right for you. These are all fun and games and should be considered as such, no matter how convinced the authors are of their work and no matter how many moms and dads swore it worked for them.

You are the only one who has to live with the results. It would behoove you to talk to your doctor or midwife about your needs and to see what medical help may be available.


Type and time of insemination within the menstrual cycle and the human sex ratio at birth. Guerrero R. Stud Fam Plann. 1975 Oct;6(10):367-71.

Boy or Girl? Whelan, E. Pocket, 1991.