In which we look at another easy way to make money from home. No training or prior experience required!

DID YOU hear that the Oxford English Dictionary has removed the word “gullible” from its latest edition? Nobody uses it any more.

Turning to a not entirely unrelated matter, I had to check to see if it was the first of April yesterday. It wasn’t. TV One reported that a New Zealand company, Right Baby Ltd, claims it has a calendar method that can allow parents to choose the sex of their children. If you give them $600.00 and fill out a questionnaire, they will give you a calendar that tells you which days are favourable for the conception of a boy or a girl.

They claim it has a 95% success rate, and promise to refund the money if you don’t get the gender you wanted. Now you can call me a sceptic, but I don’t think they can do it. I mean, if all you had to do was bonk on different days, surely somebody would have noticed by now. Mind you, it’s still a bloody good idea from a financial point of view.

Say 200 couples each year fall for the con. At $600 per couple, that’s $120,000 per year. If their predictions are completely useless,they will get it right half the time. The company will only have to return half of the money, leaving them with $60,000. And before they give the rest back, they can earn interest on the money. It may take three months to get pregnant, plus nine months before the baby is born, and then a few more months before they get the birth certificate to show they didn’t get the result they were after. The company has had the use of the money for more than a year. And even then they may not pay up until someone takes them to court.

Tracey Perkins of Right Baby Ltd is quoted saying “I don’t think it is a con at all, otherwise I wouldn’t be marketing it.” (Oh yes, that follows). “But they did a study originally in France on 155 couples and the results from that were that only two couples didn’t get the gender they wanted.” She doesn’t say who did the study, nor where the results were published.

They claim that the membrane surrounding the ovum is positively charged on some days, and negatively charged on others. They are implying that the male sperm has a positive charge and the female one negative. (Or the other way around.)

Forget about people for a moment. Animal breeding companies like Livestock Improvement are very interested in this. Dairy farmers want to breed replacement females from their best cows. At the moment, you artificially inseminate your best cow with semen from the best bull. You will only get a female calf every second year, on average. You don’t want males. Bulls don’t produce milk. A lot of money is being spent trying to sex sperm economically. It can double the rate of genetic improvement in a herd.

If male and female sperm were charged differently, all you would have to do would be to pass the sperm close to a charged plate and remove the sex you didn’t want. It is not only farmers that want to choose the sex of offspring. In China they are encouraged to have only one child. They do an ultrasound and if it is a girl, they abort. Many couples might decide it’s worth it to try to choose the sex before conception. (Although $600 is a lot of money in China.)

What does it matter, you might ask? Who cares if the scientifically illiterate are conned out of a few dollars? Well, I do. It’s money they could spend on teaching the next generation about biology. But more than that, it is another example of the needy being ripped off by the greedy. Besides, I wish I’d thought of it first.

Caveat emptor.

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