Medicine: Baking-Soda Boys

For at least 2,500 years, man has tried to control the sex of his offspring. In 1932, Dr. Felix Unterberger of Konigsberg, Germany pointed out that semen is normally slightly alkaline, and the female vaginal tract acid. In some marriages, he said, an unusually alkaline semen produces a preponderance of boys, a strongly acid vaginal tract a majority of girls. Sex of children should be controlled, then, by adjusting the acid balance of the vagina. After some animal experiments, Dr. Unterberger tried the method on humans, claimed to have "determined" the birth of 74 boys. His method: mild vaginal douches of...

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