How to conceive a Dragon baby

PHOTO: How to conceive a Dragon baby

"Luckier", more "gung-ho" and "more likely to succeed in life".

This are some of the characteristics many Chinese believe babies born in the Dragon year embody.

According to commonly held Chinese beliefs, people take after the animals of the Chinese zodiac sign they are born under. The Dragon, as the most revered of Chinese mythological creatures, symbolises intelligence, success, courage, determination and power.

While many mistakenly believe that babies born on and after the Chinese lunar new year are Dragon babies, Chinese astrology experts say this is not so.

Experts say that a baby's horoscope is actually defined by the day of the Spring Festival, which is determined by the Wan Nian Li, or Ten Thousand Years Calendar. This year, the start of spring fell on February 4.

Hence, babies born before February 4 are still 'Rabbits', and those born after February 4 are 'Dragons'.

For couples who wish to capitalise on the luck associated with the year of the Dragon, it's not too late, doctors YourHealth interviewed said.

Dr Chee Jing Jye, Medical Director of the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Centre, told YourHealth that babies conceived by May this year still have a chance of being delivered before Feb 9, 2013, which is when the Dragon year ends.

What are the options if I want a Dragon baby?

Understanding your body

Dr Chee says for couples thinking of getting help conceiving, the best method would be to first determine the root of the problem.

This is as the best treatment option is dependent on the problem.

For example, if the woman is not ovulating, then medication to stimulate ovualtion can be prescibed. If the sperm quality is not optimal, there is the option of intra-uterine insemination (IUI), where specially selected healthy sperms are placed in the uterus at the time of ovulation.

In cases where the fallopian tubes are blocked or removed, then invitro-fertilisation (IVF) is the only option.

However, Dr Chee added that many-a-time, the situation is not so complicated.

"I've come across patients who had not been able to conceive for many years only to find out that they had not been able to consummate, or they had been trying at the wrong time of the month," she said.

For natural conception, in the best of conditions, the average rate of success rate per month is only 25 per cent.

Furthermore, a woman's fertility rate decreases with age. So while her chances of conceiving per month in her early twenties is 25 per cent, it will decrease to 16 per cent by age 35.

By the time the woman is in her 40s, her chance of getting pregnant is down to 8 per cent.

Intra-uterine insemination, which costs less than $1,000, boosts a woman's chances of success to around 15 per cent. For invitro-fertilisation (IVF), which has a higher price tag of $11,000 upwards, boosts the success rate from 30 to 50 per cent.

However, the success rate for both IUI and IVF again depends greatly on the woman's age. A younger woman trying IUI or IVF will have a higher chance of success compared to an older woman. 

For such cases, simple counselling and instructions usually work.

What works?

What works?

The answer is simple.

The most important thing would be to have regular sex during the fertile period, advised Dr Chee.

After ovulation, the egg survives for only 24 hours. In other words, for a woman who has regular monthly menses, there is only a 24-hour window period for her to conceive every month.

The saving grace is healthy sperms can survive in the female genital tract for 72 hours.

So if a couple has sex at least every other day during the fertile period, the chances of having healthy sperms swimming around the vicinity of the ovulated egg is higher.

For a woman to determine when she is the most fertile, she should keep in mind that ovulation usually occurs 14 days before the woman's next expected menses.

For example, if a woman thinks her next menses is going to come on 20th of the month, then her ovulation is likely to occur around the sixth of that month.

However, as the ovulation may occur a couple of days earlier or later, usually the couple is advised to have sex every other day five days prior to and five days after the day of expected ovulation.

So in the above example, the woman would be advised to have regular sex between the second to 11th of that month.

A woman's menstrual cycle is the number of days between the first day of the menses. The menstrual cycle can be anytime between 21 to 35 days, but it should remain constant for the woman.

So the menstrual cycle is best determined by keeping track of the menses in the preceding few months.

View the gallery below for more simple tricks to improving your odds:

 Do you really want a Dragon baby?

Do Dragon babies really bring good luck?

According to fengshui master Jo Ching, the dragon is seen as an emblem of prosperity and fortune, and many believe that having a dragon baby will bring good luck to the family.

This has led to a baby boom every dragon year. KK Women's and Children's Hospital say they expect to see an 8 percent increase in deliveries this year, up from 16,000 deliveries in the last dragon year in 2000.

Gleneagles Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Parkway East Hospital also cited a possible 5 to 15 per cent rise in the number of deliveries, from the average of 1,800 to 3,000 babies a year.

To many, having a dragon year baby means hitting the zodiac jackpot, but not for Dendy and Shin Harjanto, who found out they were carrying a dragon year baby.

"I heard there's at least 10 to 20 per cent more babies expected this year for the year of the dragon, so naturally when we think in terms of education for the kid, there will be more competition," said father-to-be Dendy Harjanto.

"So I guess in a way, it is a concern for us," he said.

For Dragon father Jeffrey Yeung, it was not easy getting a Dragon daughter, having waited eight years to conceive a second child.

Jeffrey was born in 1952, and his daughter E-lin Yeung was born in 1988.

Growing up as a Dragon baby, E-lin said she faced extra competition in school, where applying for a position in polytechnics and junior colleges was a worrying affair for those in her batch.

"I saw a difference in my year in primary school and secondary school, where during my year there is always extra classes and maybe more people," she said.

Despite the challenges, E-lin said there are upsides too, such as having more friends around her age at school.

Competition aside, the couple also said getting a Dragon baby might not necessarily mean a good thing, as it might mean a more hot-tempered and demanding child.

In addition, being born in the Dragon year does not automatically guarantee that the baby will enjoy good luck, said master Jo Ching.

Certain dates may mean autistic kids

Certain dates bode autism

"In terms of luck calculation, Chinese astrologers like us will actually need to look at the date of the birth, as well as the time of the birth," he said.

Malaysian Institute of Geomancy Sciences (MINGS) founder Prof David Koh said every animal had its good and bad points, The Star Malaysia reported.

“Not all Dragon babies are successful in life. It mainly depends on their date of birth,” he said.

For this year, from the first month to the fifth month and the 11th month of the Chinese calendar are considered good months for giving birth.

However, children born on certain dates are prone to autism.

The dates are March 22, 23, 28 and 29; April 1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 12, 17, 18, 21-28; May 1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 12, 17, 18, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 31.

Other dates which are not so good are June 1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 16 and 17; Oct 22 and 23; Nov 1, 2, 11, 12, 21 and 22; Dec 1, 2, 11 and 12.