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April 4, 1977

The "Pill" Shows No Favors

JAMA. 1977;237(14):1470. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270410070032

Prospective parents searching for means to preplan the gender of their offspring might have been encouraged by a 1974 Lancet article1 reporting a nearly 2:1 (112:58) female to male birth ratio after two years of prior contraceptive use by the mother. These hopes have now been dashed by a study of over 6,000 births that followed conception when ovulation suppressants were discontinued.2 The report leaves little doubt that the female to male birth ratio continues to hug the traditional 1:1 (3045:3064) proportion. In Boston, at least, male births remained close to 50% (between 49.1% and 51.2%) regardless of total duration of contraceptive use, interval between discontinuance of use and conception, or prior history of contraception.

Man has not yet bent the laws of probability.