Determining a Baby's Sex

From Allah is known through reason, by: Harun Yahya

Until fairly recently it was thought that a baby's sex was determined by the male and female genes together. The improving disciplines of genetics and microbiology proved in the 20th century that the female has no role in the process.

Two of the 46 chromosomes that determine the structure of a human being are the sex chromosomes. These chromosomes are called "XY" in males and "XX" in females, because the shapes of the chromosomes resemble these letters. The Y chromosome is the one that carries all the specifically male genes.

The formation of an infant starts by the uniting of two chromosomes: one from the father and one from the mother. Because a female only has X chromosomes, her reproductive cells (ova) will contain only those. Males on the other hand, have both X and Y chromosomes, so half of their reproductive cells (sperms) will be X and the other half Y. If an ovum unites with a sperm containing an X chromosome, the offspring is female; if it unites with one containing a Y chromosome, the offspring is male.

In other words, a baby's sex is determined by which (X or Y) chromosome from the male unites with the chromosome from the female.

None of this was known until the discovery of genetics in the 20th century. Indeed, in many cultures it was believed that a baby's sex was determined by the condition (health, etc.) of the mother's body. That was why women were blamed when they had girls. (This primitive belief is still common.)

Thirteen centuries before the genes were discovered, the Qur'an, however, revealed information that denies this. In a verse it is stated that maleness or femaleness is created from a drop of semen: that is, the source of the sexes is not the woman but the man.

... He did create in pairs, male and female, from a drop of sperm as it is poured forth. (Surat an-Najm, 45-46)


Back to the main articles page

Next article: The sensor characteristics of the skin