Scientists are hinting that mothers who want baby girls must shun banana and eat more beans and hard cheese claiming the choice of diet and good timing of play Mr and Mrs mating during the night play a crucial part in choosing the sex of babies
They are passing instructions that any mothers desperate for a baby girl should cut out bananas and go on a diet of beans and hard cheese.
They have discovered that a combination of the right food and the timing of sex are the key to the nursery being painted pink rather than blue.
The trick, the scientists say, is to refrain from eating sodium and potassium-rich foods, such as anchovies, olives, bacon, salami, smoked salmon, prawns, savoury rice, blue cheese, potatoes, processed meats, bread and pastries.
Instead they should concentrate on foods rich in calcium and magnesium.
Foods containing high amounts of calcium include yoghurt, hard cheese, canned salmon, rhubarb, spinach, tofu, almonds, oatmeal, broccoli and oranges.
Brazil and cashew nuts, whole wheat cereals, figs and beans are rich in magnesium.
The scientists, from Maastricht University in Holland, claim that the father’s diet has no effect on what sex the baby will be.
Their conclusions follow a five-year study involving 172 Western European women aged from 23 to 42. The women had all previously given birth to boys – in one case, four of them – and wanted girls.
They were told to cut out salt and eat at least a pound of dairy products a day. Their diet also included bread, vegetables, fruit, meat, rice and pasta.
Although many of the women dropped out of the survey because they failed to adhere to the strict dietary requirements or rules on when to have sex, 21 women stuck it out to the end.
Of the 21, 16 gave birth to daughters – an astonishing success rate of almost 80 per cent.
‘The results show that both diet and timing methods increase the probability of
a girl – the impact of the diet being the most pronounced,’ said a spokesman for the
‘It shows a substantial success rate when both methods are applied correctly.’
Other studies claim that sperm carrying the female gene is stronger and likely to last longer than the lighter, faster but more short-lived male sperm – hence the need to avoid sex around the time of ovulation when the male sperm will be more dominant.
This is the first time that humans have allowed themselves to be guinea pigs for such experiments.
Previous tests have been carried out on marine worms, dairy cattle, pigs and rats, although some studies of women who have only ever given birth to boys indicated that their diet had contained mainly potassium and sodium-rich foods.
Such is the desire of some families to predetermine the sex of their offspring some resort to IVF treatment to ensure girls, but as the Dutch scientists acknowledge, ‘many parents find that these techniques are just one step too far in meddling with nature’.
Others rely on old wives’ tales, which say that a woman wanting to conceive a girl should make her partner take hot baths or drink cups of strong coffee prior to intercourse.