In this post, I will sum up the timing patterns that I think are effective and worth trying based on my timing study.
Note: Please do keep in mind that the numbers for most of these patterns are relatively low. I do not in any way consider this study conclusive, and I would love to be looking at thousands of charts rather than hundreds, and have hundreds of charts for each pattern rather than 15 or 25 or 50. However, I am just one person and only have so much free time to do this, so it will be a while before I amass the number of charts I'd like to have to feel really comfortable with the results. As with all studies, conclusions are most reliable when they are repeated and confirmed by other studies. Unfortunately, there seems to be very little research on timing, and so in the absence of more "scientific" evidence, hopefully this can help provide some information about whether the popular timing methods advocated for swaying really work as people claim they do.
For TTC a boy
There may appear to be a bias in my study for timing patterns that favor girls. However, the reason for that is there are a lot more theories about timing for girls than for boys. The only boy theories I'm aware of are: BD on ovulation favors boys (according to my study, overall BD on ovulation doesn't sway), very little BD favors boys (again, my study indicates that one time BD doesn't sway), and BD once the day of ovulation or the day before favors boys.
This last theory is the most popular boy timing pattern, and according to my research, it DOES favor boys. Charts with one-time BD the day of and day before ovulation swayed for boys 66.7%. The percentages were a little higher for the day prior to ovulation (68.8%) than the day of (63.6%). However, I don't think this means that it is necessarily better to BD the day before ovulation. It is possible that the lower effectiveness rate on the day of ovulation is due to some of the charts really being O+12 charts, if ovulation occurred early in the day and the BD occurred in the evening.
Since there were only 27 charts with this pattern, the effectiveness rate might drop when more charts are found. However, for now, this timing method looks like an effective way to sway for a boy.
For TTC a girl
For girls, there are 3 popular timing theories: O+12, cut-offs, and frequent BD through ovulation.
For the reasons stated in my first post, I couldn't test O+12 using charts on Fertility Friend. However, if my understanding of the one study from the FAQ on O+12 is correct, it has a 66% effectiveness rate for girls. I don't know how many individuals were included in the study (obviously, the more individuals in the study, the more reliable the results are), and I don't know if there are other studies supporting a 66% effectiveness rate for O+12. But if the 66% effectiveness rate is correct, then O+12 is most effective timing method for ttc a girl.
Cut-offs of at least two days are also effective according to my research. If someone is doing a cut-off, I think it is wisest to limit the cut-off to 2-3 days, since cut-offs of 2 days and 3 days had the highest effectiveness rates for girls (59.4% and 73.3% respectively, and there were 47 charts with 2 or 3 day cut-offs). 4 day cut-offs also favored girls in my study - but the number of charts with that pattern are very low (7 total), and so I don't trust that cut-offs that long are good for girls, especially when there is other information indicating that long cut-offs may favor boys.
The last popular girl timing method, frequent BD through ovulation was NOT supported by my research. I found absolutely no evidence that more BD favored girls, and the odds were pretty close to 50/50 no matter how frequent the BD was. I also had quite a lot of charts with frequent BD on them - 232. Obviously, I'm still not looking at thousands of charts with a particular pattern, but this is still a substantial number of charts. The ineffectiveness of frequent BD for swaying for a girl is one of the conclusions that is best supported by my study.
On the other hand, if the frequent BD avoided ovulation, it resulted in girls 56.9% of the time. There were 58 charts with this pattern. While frequent BD that avoids ovulation has the lowest effectiveness rate of these 3 timing methods, there are some extra benefits to this method - and it is the timing method I plan to use when I sway.
First of all, even though O+12 appears to be a very effective timing method, it works best for younger women. As women get older, their eggs don't live as long. I will be 35 when we start ttc, and so I have my doubts that any eggs I produce will live long enough to be fertilized after 12+ hours. I could be wrong, but I don't want to gamble for several months on a timing method that has a high probability of not working.
Second, cut-offs are also effective, but they have some drawbacks. If you don't have regular cycles it can be difficult to predict when it is going to be 2 or 3 days before you ovulate. My cycles are relatively regular - but I never know for sure which day I will ovulate, and it can vary quite a bit. The other problem is that the farther away from ovulation that you BD, the harder it is to get pregnant. Only 11.8% of the charts I looked at had a cut-off of 2 or more days. Cut-offs are NOT the ideal way to get pregnant quickly. For some people, getting pregnant quickly may not matter. But many of us, for one reason or another, don't feel like we have the leisure to spend months and years on ttc methods that have a low rate of success.
Frequent BD that avoids ovulation avoids these problems. Thanks to OPKs, it is usually much easier to predict 1 day before ovulation than 2 or 3 days. And if you BD up to 1 day before you ovulate, that increases your chances of getting pregnant. Swaying is hard work, and it is difficult to stick to for months without getting pregnant. For that reason, I think it is wisest to pick a swaying method that is effective but also increases the odds of conceiving.
So there you have it: 1 effective timing method for ttc a boy, and 2 effective timing methods for girls (plus a third that I believe is effective but couldn't study).
One of the main things doing this research impressed upon me is that swaying is in NO WAY a guarantee of getting the gender of your choice. All of the "effective" timing methods produce a lot of opposites, and none of them has a greater than 70% effectiveness rate. For this reason, I feel very strongly that it is important to do more than one "effective" thing to sway. I didn't do this study because I think timing is the "most important" element of swaying. While I believe timing is important, I also think many other things like ph, diet, minerals, hormones, etc. are also very important. The more factors that you can incorporate into your sway, the more likely you will be successful.
I'm still not done with this study and plan to continue analyzing charts from FF. But what I am going to do now is start over with another 500 charts, and see if after I've looked at 500 more charts, if I reach the same conclusions that I did with this first study. Most likely with this second study, I will only be looking timing, though, since as I've stated earlier, I've come to think that the information about cm on FF isn't very useful. Once I've looked at 200 or so charts, I will start updating this blog with the new information I've found.
I hope people have found this information interesting and helpful. Good luck to all of you in your efforts to conceive the gender of your choice!