Will it be a boy or a girl? It is an important question for many parents. Historically, a fetus is equally likely to be a boy or girl. In recent years, several scientific studies have shown that multiple factors play a role in determining the child’s sex at birth. Are you curious to know which parent determines the sex of a child or would you like to know at what week of pregnancy the baby’s sex is visible? While you wait for the exciting outcome of the ultrasound, find out in this article what gender determination is and how genetic traits determine the sex of your baby.
How is gender determined?
Besides the pressing question of what the sex of your child will be, you may be asking yourself which parent ultimately determines the baby’s sex. Female eggs can only transfer X chromosomes, while sperm cells transfer both X and Y chromosomes. The sex of the child is determined by the father, as a sperm cells transmit either the Y or X chromosome. A subsequent question is whether sperm cells transmit Y and X chromosomes to the same extent. Y chromosomal sperm are proportionally biased and the sex ratio in newborns can vary. So, assuming their chances are even of being one sex or the other is an old wives’ tale that does not always hold true.
Different genes can regulate whether a man’s sperm contains more Y chromosomes or more X chromosomes, and this determines the sex. If a man has mostly or only brothers, he is likely to have sons of his own. If the man himself has one or more sisters, he is likely to have daughters. With women, however, this cannot be predicted. Scientific researchers speculate that sperm creation is determined by two types of genes.
- If a man has 2 ‘m’ genes, he is likely to have Y chromosome sperm and have sons.
- If a man has 1 ‘m’ and 1 ‘f’ none, he is likely to produce both X and Y chromosomes.
- If a man has 2 ‘f’ genes, he is likely to have X chromosomes in his sperm and have daughters.
How many weeks until gender determination?
The instant that the sperm enters the egg, the gender of the baby is determined. If an X-chromosome sperm enters the egg, the baby will develop into a female, and if the Y-chromosome sperm enters the egg, the baby will become a male. Once the first sperm enters the egg, the membrane of the egg changes to prevent penetration by future sperm. However, the parents of the baby will need to wait up at least four additional weeks before they can find out the gender of the baby – as soon as 6 weeks into pregnancy.
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