According to the study, expectant mothers can increase the likelihood of giving birth to a baby girl by including fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.
Consuming a diet rich in calcium and magnesium, in the weeks before conception, might result in having daughters, the study researchers said.
Conversely, there's a possibility that foods rich in potassium and sodium, like bananas and potatoes, may increase the chances of having sons, although it is not yet ascertained.
For the present study, the research team analyzed 172 couples, who wanted to add daughters in their families, all having 358 sons and just two daughters, for five years.
The study participants were asked to include fruits, green, leafy vegetables, and rice in their diet nine weeks before trying to conceive so as to increase the levels of calcium and magnesium in the mother's bloodstream.
Further, the couples were given daily dose of key minerals in the form of tablets, underwent regular blood tests, and were asked to note the time of peak fertility each month.
To the researchers’ surprise, out of all the women who took the test, 80 percent of the pregnant women who followed the vegetarian diet gave birth to daughters.
It was found that, out of 32 couples who completed the trial, 26 mothers gave birth to girls and only six delivered boys.
Annet Noorlander, a biologist with Gender Consult, the Dutch consultancy that led the research with Delft and Maastricht Universities, said, “People now know that if they do everything we have suggested, their chances of having a girl will improve dramatically. This method is experimental, but we have proved it works.”
The study authors noted that following the right diet may help would-be-parents choose the sex of their unborn kid, though the exact role played by other factors such as timing of conception, etc., was not assessed.
A plausible explanation
While it's a known fact that the type of sperm that fertilises the mother’s egg is responsible for the sex of the child, the mineral content of the prospective father’s blood has no effect on the child's gender determination, the researchers averred.
As per the study, it is the mineral content of the would-be-mother's blood that determines whether the egg will be receptive to sperm bearing XX chromosomes, leading to a girl, or XY chromosomes.
Since the sperm with female chromosome takes more time in reaching egg than the sperm having male chromosome, scientists advise couples to try and conceive three to four days before the ovulation cycle.
The study has been published in the journal 'Reproductive BioMedicine Online'.