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Let us say yours is a happy family with two beautiful girls aged 4 and 7. Now you want another child. Since you already have girls, could this be your turn to have a boy? Or having girls just runs in the family and you are taking a chance? Apparently, there is much more that you need to learn about planning a family and the many mysteries of conception. So why not simply leave it to those who know a little more than you do.

In a general way, planning a family means deciding on the number of children you want and the means you select to achieve it. As it is, you have acquired the resources to lead a comfortable and happy family life. The only thing you await now is the arrival of the desired baby boy or girl.

And with this comes the worrisome thought whether your child’s gender will be of your own choosing. It will be wise to accept that most people the world over, can no longer afford the luxury of large families. Besides, with late marriages and other reasons, one or two children is what most families can hope and aspire for. In a country like China, which adopts the one-child policy for its economic prosperity, the arrival of a child with the lesser favored sex gender can be a life shattering experience.

So, how does one conquer this uncertainty? In the first place any kind of surgery is out. Most couples will find themselves ineligible for reasons of age and health, and the cost is forbidding. Besides, the ethics involved leave a lot to be desired. If nature intended that a human being achieved happiness and prosperity within a given envelope, wisdom would lie in not exceeding those limits.

Prompted by the curiosity of what the sex of the yet to-be born child would be (a thought that has plagued mankind for centuries) medical science, at last, sat up and took notice. This was the second half of the twentieth century and the revolutionary ultra-sound equipment was yet to be discovered. In those days of intense conservatism and religiosity, Dr. L.Shettles, MD, a professor at the University of Columbia, USA, took it upon himself to walk the extra mile. He discovered a method that could virtually decide the gender of a baby before it was conceived. In other words, parents could begin to hope for a boy or a girl with a greater degree of certainty.

“Shettles Method” as it came to be popularly known proved that with non-invasive means, a regulated diet and a methodical indulgence in physical intimacy, a couple could ensure a 75-80% gender selection success rate. Dissenting voices, and there were many, were quickly silenced when medical experts who mattered most, announced that there was no breach of medical ethics.

Instead, the advent of ultra-sound in the 1980s came as a windfall for unscrupulous doctors and patients the world over. For god fearing, expectant parents it offered little but the prior knowledge of the gender of their forthcoming child.

At the turn of the century, the era of the old styled, wholesome families was gone forever. Coming up was the decade that saw a greater resurgence of techniques and methods that Dr. Shettles had so aptly described in his research papers. Planning a family became of the utmost importance. And with the advancement in medical science and superior research facilities, a few dedicated medical personnel took it upon themselves to improve on the Shettles Method.

Some of these findings have found their place in highly educative manuals now available on the market. One of these, Plan My Baby, researched by an ex-midwife, Alicia Pennington, has turned out to be an outstanding piece of work.

The course of action you choose is entirely up to you. What you must remember, however, is that even with a proven 94% success rate, nature can slip up once in a while. At the outset yours is a happy mission, and which ever way things turn out you will still end up a winner.

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